Transport Minister Marc Garneau says the private owner of the 87-year-old bridge, the busiest border crossing between Canada and the United States, can begin building a six-lane replacement bridge.
A release from Garneau’s office says the Canadian Transit Company will have to manage impacts of construction on the local community, including when it dismantles the existing four-lane bridge once its replacement has opened.
The company says on its website that it plans to spend US$1 billion on the new span.
The Canadian Transit Company has long complained that Transport Canada was dragging its heels on approvals for the project as the federal government pursues its own six-lane international bridge over the Detroit River, just a few kilometres west of the Ambassador Bridge.
The company first applied for the new span in 2004.
The American-based owner of the Ambassador Bridge, Manuel “Matty” Moroun, has fought construction of the Gordie Howe international bridge, even launching court challenges to have it stopped.
Almost one-quarter of all goods traded between Canada and the United States move across the Ambassador Bridge. About 2.5 million trucks travelled across the bridge in 2015, and 4.2 million passenger vehicles traversed it as well, making it the second-busiest passenger vehicle crossing.