Detroit-Ontario bridge security and ownership concerns rankle automakers, government

An interesting story with serious implications for the auto industry reaches between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario-- that of the Ambassador Bridge. The span is the most heavily trafficked border crossing in North America, and it's the main artery by which the two nations auto industries conduct business. DaimlerChrysler itself freights somewhere between 1,400-1,500 truckloads of its wares across the Ambassador daily, and other automakers including Toyota and Honda frequent it as well.

Problem is, the four-lane bridge is privately held (owner: Manuel "Matty" Moroun). Analyst Kim Hill of the Center for Automotive Research notes: "It's kind of shocking that a private investor can own a crossing between two countries... he can impact two very large state and provincial economies." More troubling still is that officials from both the U.S. and Canada have expressed security concern over the bridge's vulnerable status, given that it is effectively the sole area industrial conduit between the two countries.

A binational coalition is forecasting that the Ambassador Bridge will hit max capacity around 2010, and a new bridge is expected to take until 2013 to complete.

[Sources: Associated Press via Akron Beacon-Journal and]

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