DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s a big win for Gov. Rick Snyder and supporters of a second bridge between Detroit and Windsor: The U.S. State Department on Friday gave the OK allow Michigan and Canada to move forward with the span over the Detroit River.
Snyder says the project is expected to create as many as 12,000 direct jobs and 31,000 indirect jobs. Construction is expected to take up to seven years, but lawsuits challenging the project have been filed by owners of the current Ambassador Bridge.
“So this is a win for all – long-term and short-term,” Snyder told reporters. “So we should just be very excited today. This is one of those few situations when you should just be happy.”
The permit approval is the final political step before construction can begin on the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge. Reports estimate the entire project could cost upwards of $4 billion and take up to five years to build.
U.S. and Canadian officials say this is a huge step toward strengthening trading relations between the two countries.
“This project is important for the future of Michigan, the United States and Canada,” said Snyder. “I appreciate the U.S. State Department’s thorough review as well as the continued support of our Canadian partners. This new trade crossing will make Michigan stronger in many ways.”
The bridge is expected to provide an alternative route for trucks at one of the busiest commercial border crossings in the U.S., where an estimated 2.7 million trucks pass through carrying $120-billion worth of goods annually.
The new crossing is planned to cross the Detroit River about two miles south of the Ambassador Bridge, from the Brighton Beach neighborhood in Windsor to the Delray neighborhood in Detroit.
The “footprint” includes the area of Post Street and West Jefferson , where Delray Mechanical has been locared for the past 13 years.
Office Manager Julie Ebsch told WWJ’s Mike Campbell she still doesn’t know what will happen to the company.
There has been no discussion or offer from the state, though the hope is to relocate somewhere nearby. ”How can you plan when you don’t know the status of your current situation?” she said.
Ebsch said she does look forward to all that the bridge could do to improve the area, but she hopes home owners and workers who will still call Delray home’are protected from diesel fumes of idling trucks and other health concerns.
Earlier this week, Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun filed a lawsuit against several federal agencies in both the U.S. and Canadian governments to stop the DRIC. It’s not clear if the lawsuit will have an impact on the second bridge at this point.
Among those expressing support for the project is Tim Daman, President and CEO, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“The success and growth of Michigan’s auto industry is directly tied to exporting and importing products with Canada,” said Daman, in a statement. “The Detroit-Windsor corridor is arguably the most important international crossing for trade in the world and is in desperate need of an upgrade. The new crossing will provide secure world-class trade and transportation infrastructure, providing the long needed direct freeway-to-freeway connection to the busiest corridor between the U.S. and Canada.”