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Detroit Windsor Tunnel operator files for bankruptcy

Police vehicles are pictured at empty customs lanes entering the U.S. at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in Detroit, Michigan on July 12, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Jeff Kowalsky
Police vehicles are pictured at empty customs lanes entering the U.S. at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in Detroit, Michigan on July 12, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Jeff Kowalsky

Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:52am EDT

(Reuters) - American Roads LLC, the privately owned operator of the international border crossing tunnel that links Detroit to Windsor, Ontario in Canada filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, citing reduced traffic.

The bankruptcy was not the result of last week's petition for bankruptcy by Detroit, although the city's problems contributed to the company's difficulties, Neal Belitsky, American Roads' chief executive, said in court documents.

American Roads is seeking to restructure $830 million in debt. Traffic volumes fell short of projections made in 2006 when it took on its debt, according to court documents.

The company, owned by infrastructure investor Alinda Capital Partners LLC, also indirectly owns four toll roads in Alabama.

The company blamed a decline in the population of the Detroit area for the drop in traffic through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel.

Detroit's population has fallen from a peak of 1.8 million in the middle of last century to under 700,000 today.

Detroit sought Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection last week to restructure $18 billion in retiree and bond obligations. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit will consider the city's eligibility for bankruptcy next month.

The case is In Re American Roads LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-12412.

(Reporting By Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Chris Reese)

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