Proposal for the Ambassador Bridge(Windsor) to carry Hazmat again raises its head

Updated : 2020-10-23Source : windsorontarionews
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A group of Michigan politicians is pressing the state governor to allow hazardous goods to be transported across the Ambassador bridge. Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon, in an opinion piece in The Detroit News, says he and “other elected officials” have written Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “to reverse the current ban on certain hazardous, yet necessary, materials like gasoline crossing the Ambassador Bridge.” Their argument is that it’s safer for the wider Detroit population.

Thousands of trucks every year drive through “densely populated neighborhoods” en route to Sarnia-Port Huron’s Blue Water Bridge, where Hazmat is allowed, says Napoleon. But since 2011 there have been 29 accidents involving such trucks on the “unnecessary 50-mile route.” Napoleon says “the math is pretty simple: the more time and miles these materials travel on Michigan roads, the higher the risk of an accident.” He says even Michigan's transportation department concluded in a “comprehensive study” in 2012 that certain non-radioactive material could be "safely transported" across the Ambassador “just as they have been transported across the Blue Water Bridge without serious incident for 60 years.”

Napoleon says the cargo could be accompanied by “protective escort vehicles.” Proposals for the bridge to handle Hazmat have come up in the past and have been roundly opposed by Windsor officials. The same is true here. “We’re opposed to transport of hazardous goods over the Ambassador Bridge,” Windsor Fire Chief Stephen Laforet said. He said “if there was a spill there’s no active containment measures that we’re aware of.” Also, the mishap would occur in proximity to the university and residential areas “so where would the products go if there was a spill?” Laforet said “tremendous heat” could be generated and damage the bridge structure. Gregg Ward, who operates the Windsor-Detroit truck ferry which specializes in hazardous cargo, said to change the Hazmat route restrictions, the bridge “needs to follow the established federal guidelines which include independent risk assessments, consultation with governments and the public on both sides of the bridge, and more. Anything less is not acceptable.”