DETROIT– On Jan. 8, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is opening a 30 day public comment period regarding the Detroit International Bridge Company’s (DIBC) application for a permit for the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project. State Representative Stephanie Chang and Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López, along with more than 100 residents who signed an online petition which will be sent to the USCG today, are requesting that the USCG (1), host a public hearing and informational session for local residents, and, (2), not make any final decision on the permit application unless or until land conversions for land needed to build a second span have been approved by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and federal agencies.
The host community’s residents have expressed serious concerns since this project was first proposed in 2009 and continue to have legitimate concerns regarding this potential project. Residents deserve to be fully informed about the impacts of this potential second span. Local residents already bear the burden of the negative health impacts of the existing span. The Riverside Park land-swap deal approved by the city in 2015 still requires state and federal approval of the conversion of land from outdoor public recreation use. The traffic caused by both this expansion, as well as the future nearby Gordie Howe International Bridge, also needs to be studied in detail.
“Residents need to be able to fully participate in the public comment process beyond written comment which is very challenging for many people. We need a public hearing so Southwest Detroiters can voice their concerns about the project’s potential environmental and health impacts,” said Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), who serves House District 6. “A final Coast Guard decision should not be made until the bridge company has gained state and federal approval to convert the Riverside Park parcels from its current outdoor recreation purpose.”