The Ambassador Bridge is not only impressive to the eye, it’s essential to the economy of two countries. More than 25% of all commerce between the U.S. and Canada crosses this majestic long-span connection, making it the single busiest international land border crossing in North America, according to the FHWA. To ensure the bridge’s safe, continued use, the bridge’s owner needed to assess the effect of decades of heavy use, a task complicated by the fact no load rating had been done since its completion in 1929.
The owner, Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC), became convinced Modjeski and Masters was the right bridge engineering firm for the job. Not only for our firsthand knowledge of the Ambassador Bridge’s structure –– we oversaw the original design and construction – but because we presented a concise, carefully considered plan of action. First, we would inspect, analyze, and instrument, if necessary, numerous members of the bridge. Then we would develop a detailed asset management plan that provided a well-defined strategy for addressing critical needs first and prioritizing the others.
Modjeski and Masters completed the task in several phases, beginning with the much needed load rating. This resulted in additional contracts for structural steel repairs, replacement of suspender ropes and the main span deck, and a main cable inspection. DIBC now considers Modjeski and Masters an invaluable partner in the life cycle of the Ambassador Bridge, relying on our expertise for additional bridge inspections, testing, and needs assessment. And we have the skills necessary to work in synergy with communications specialists to reassure the public their safety is the highest priority.