Bridge Company gives up control of Gateway Project

DETROIT (WXYZ) - During a Wednesday afternoon news conference, officials with the Detroit International Bridge Company reversed their position and announced they would go along with court orders regarding the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project.

As part of the move, the Bridge Company announced that both Matty Moroun and his son will be stepping aside from the Gateway project and giving up absolute control of the project to an outside board.

The Bridge Company has been locked in a court battle with MDOT over the project, with both sides arguing over how the project was supposed to be built.

MDOT has blasted the Bridge Company saying they changed the construction plans so that they could add lucrative gas pumps and a duty free shop.

The Bridge Company has said that their agreement with the state allowed them to change the design.

One of the most controversial changes is Pier 19, an approach ramp the bridge company built to what would be a second span to Canada. The ramp is right next to the approach ramp to the Ambassador Bridge and pushes traffic away from a road MDOT wanted built to keep traffic off of surface streets in the area.

As it was built, traffic is kept on Fort Street and runs past the duty free shop and gas pumps owned by the bridge company. As the case has progressed through court, the Bridge company has made changes to the project to accommodate the judge's orders.

As part of the Wednesday news conference, the bridge company announced that it would remove Pier 19.

During the long court battle the judge overseeing the case has sent both Bridge Company owner Matty Moroun and Bridge Company President and CEO Dan Stamper to jail for contempt. Another hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

That hearing comes in the wake of an appeals court ruling that went against Moroun and Stamper. They had appealed the contempt ruling by Judge Prentis Edwards. The Court of Appeals found that both men were given due processes and that the contempt ruling was valid.

However, the Court also found that Edwards's ruling was too broad and that he did not give the men an opportunity to "purge" the contempt. The Court of Appeals ordered Edwards to modify his order. It was widely expected that the modified contempt order would be issued on Thursday.

It was reveled during the Wednesday afternoon news conference that officials for the Detroit International Bridge Company will present a plan to Judge Edwards during Thursday's hearing on their plans to comply with the court order.

It is not yet clear how Wednesday revelations will affect the court hearing.

However, the Bridge Company says that while they are giving up control of the project, they are not done fighting the battle over it.

Officials say they plan to pursue the appeals that have been filed to the Judge Edwards's ruling that found they had not complied with the original plans for the Gateway project through the court system.

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