PODCAST: The race to build the first new Detroit-Windsor is on, with journalist Dave Battagello

Creative Commons photo via Mike Boening Photography

Few journalists working on either side of the U.S.-Canada border have done a better job covering the long and strange story of efforts to build a new Detroit-Windsor bridge ā€” and particularly the underhanded tactics of bridge magnate Matty Moroun ā€” than Dave Battagello.

So we invited Battagello, a nearly 30-year veteran at The Windsor Star, to come on the Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast to discuss what’s been an astonishing week of bridge news.

To briefly recap: The Canadian government surprised many last week by giving final approval to Moroun to build a twin span next to his crumbling Ambassador Bridge. Then, a few days later, Battagello broke the news that the CEO of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority was quietly ousted amid a series of delays in starting the publicly owned Gordie Howe International Bridge. That project may not be completed until 2023.

A rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

“I think the competitive advantage is gone now. You’ve just given Mr. Moroun the green light. He has most of his, in terms of completing another border crossing, he has a lot of infra in place already. To me the race is over. I don’t know how the Gordie Howe, even if it got started today, could even get done before Mr. Moroun is able to complete a twin span given the amount of infrastructure that has to be completed.”

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