A permit awarded by the U.S. Department of State allows Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, to move forward with the span over the Detroit River. Construction of the bridge could start in 2015 and the entire project — including the bridge, interchange ramps and customs plazas — could be finished by 2020.
Lawsuits challenging the bridge, though, have been filed by a lawmaker and the owners of the 83-year-old Ambassador Bridge, currently the lone bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
The presidential permit is a requirement for all U.S. border crossing projects with Canada and Mexico, and comes 10 months after Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper struck a deal calling for Canada to pay for the span over the Detroit River. It also follows Michigan voters' rejection last fall of a $33 million ballot measure backed by the Ambassador Bridge owners that would have slowed or halted construction.