Ambassador Bridge owner hopes to expand border crossing

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The owner of the Ambassador Bridge is proposing a huge expansion of U.S. Customs inspection facilities that could speed traffic across the U.S.-Canada bridge and through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, according to the Detroit Free-Press.

Ambassador Port Co., owned by trucking magnate Manuel Moroun, wants to pay the City of Detroit $30 million to extend the lease on the tunnel and buy about 25 acres of land near the bridge, according to the Free-Press. The property would allow Ambassador Port to move customs inspections booths from both sides of the Detroit River into a huge 200-acre site tentatively called the International Center.

By taking booths and inspections away from the bridge and tunnel entrances, he said, crossing times will be reduced dramatically, and the crossings will be able to handle much more traffic, pushing the need for another bridge span or tunnel expansion 20 or 25 years into the future, according to Dan Stamper, president of Ambassador Port and the Detroit International Bridge Co.

At present, a total of 45 booths are on the Canadian and U.S. sides. Stamper told the Free-Press that about 100 new booths — outfitted with the latest in X-ray and license-plate-reading security technology — would be built at the International Center, greatly boosting efficiency at the border crossing. Another 100 booths could be added later.