Work begins on Gordie Howe International Bridge between Detroit, Canada

Full construction to start in Fall 2018

Rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge from the WDBA.

DETROIT – Work got underway Tuesday on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. 

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) said "advance" construction efforts have begun. Advance construction includes design work to advance foundation construction of the main bridge, test piles, preparation and the start of siphon work at I-75, and geotechnical exploration.

The WDBA earlier this month said the cable-stayed bridge will be the longest in North America, and the heights of the bridge towers will rival the Renaissance Center. It will offer an additional six lanes of traffic to the busy international crossing -- the Ambassador Bridge has four lanes. 

“This is history in the making,” said Dwight Duncan, chair of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority’s board of directors. “I’m proud to be part of it.” 

Full bridge construction is expected to get underway this fall. A timetable for completion has not been made available. 

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Tuesday morning on the Detroit side. 

Gordie Howe bridge facts

Here are quick facts about the project from the WDBA: 

  • Advance construction activities include design work to progress with foundation construction of the main bridge, test piles, preparation work at Interstate 75, and geotechnical exploration.
  • The Gordie Howe International Bridge brings opportunities in the form of jobs and contracts for local workers, service providers, and material manufacturers and distributors in both Canada and the United States.
  • The Windsor-Detroit Gateway is the busiest Canada-United States commercial land border crossing and is vital to the economies of Ontario, Michigan, Canada and the United States, with some 7,000 trucks crossing each day. About 2.5 million trucks cross the Windsor-Detroit border each year. In 2017 this represented over US$106.5 billion in bilateral trade (CAD$138 billion).
  • The Gordie Howe International Bridge project includes the construction of:
    • A six-lane, cable-stayed design bridge of 850m (0.53 miles) and a total length of approximately 2.5 km (1.5 miles)
    • Canadian and United States Ports of Entry including approach bridges, customs plazas and a tolling station on the Canadian side
    • A Michigan interchange connecting Interstate 75 to the United States Port of Entry.
  • Once constructed, Canada’s Port of Entry will be the largest Canadian port on the Canada-United States border and the United States Port of Entry will be one of the largest in North America.
  • Canada and the United States share the world’s longest secure border, over which approximately 400,000 people, and goods and services worth US$1.9 billion (CAD$2.5 billion), cross daily.

About the Authors:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.