A permit approving the location and plans of the proposed bridge, issued in accordance with the appropriate laws and regulations governing the Coast Guard’s bridge program, was sent to DIBC Tuesday.
The Coast Guard’s permit action is based on the potential impacts of the project on navigation and the human environment. After completing an environmental assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coast Guard determined the project would not have a significant impact on the environment and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact. The Coast Guard also determined the navigational clearances of the proposed twin span would meet the reasonable needs of the current and foreseeable future navigation.
The Detroit City Council approved an agreement with DIBC in July 2015 that will allow DIBC to pursue the necessary rights to construct the bridge over Riverside Park and appropriate substitution parklands. The Coast Guard views the land swap agreement as sufficient evidence of “necessary primary authority” to allow the Coast Guard to make a permit decision. The agreement, as it currently stands, does not provide DIBC with legal title to the park property because it must be approved by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. National Park Service. While a Coast Guard bridge permit can be issued, construction of the bridge cannot commence until such approvals are received.
The Coast Guard Bridge Permit application process runs separately from the Canadian government’s approval process. However, approval of the bridge by the Canadian government is required before DIBC can begin construction.
The project’s impact on air quality was shown to be well below the de minimis thresholds using the worst case traffic scenarios in the 2007, 2009 and 2012 air quality studies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved 2012 dispersion modeling analysis demonstrated that the maximum predicted impacts combined with the current background concentrations are less than National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and that the maximum predicted concentrations of air toxics are less than the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality health-based screening levels.