WATCH: Gordie Howe International Bridge project update on Sept. 28, 2018

Full bridge construction expected to start this fall

WINDSOR, Ontario – Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) held a news conference Friday morning for what it called a "significant announcement" about the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

  • Watch the full news conference above.

Work on the bridge got underway this summer. The WDBA said the cable-stayed bridge will be the longest in North America, and the heights of the bridge towers will rival the Renaissance Center in Detroit. 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 has been expected to get underway this fall. On Friday, officials said the bridge is expected to be in service by the end of 2024.

Here is a statement from the WDBA: 

The fixed-priced contract is valued at $5.7 billion (nominal value), which includes the design-build (DB) phase and the operation, maintenance, rehabilitation (OMR) phase. Bridging North America will receive progress payments during construction and a substantial completion payment at the end of construction. They will also receive monthly payments for operations and maintenance over the 30-year concession (operating) period. The performance-based contract with Bridging North America is structured to ensure that the contractor has the appropriate incentives to meet or exceed the long-term objectives of safety, reliability and capacity WDBA has set for the project.

Bridging North America has presented a 74-month construction schedule to complete the four components of the project with the bridge expected to be in service by the end of 2024.

Bridging North America has been meeting with local companies, organizations and unions to discuss opportunities for partnerships. Representatives have also met with educational institutions to help develop the next generation of skilled trade workers. They anticipate the creation of 2,500 direct, on-site jobs including direct hires, sub-contractors and seconded individuals as well as significant economic benefits that extend to the whole region.

The new Gordie Howe International Bridge will provide for redundancy at the busiest trade corridor between Canada and the United States with improved border processing and highway-to-highway international connectivity. It also addresses future needs and will provide six lanes to meet anticipated growth in traffic over the years to come. With features like a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists, LEED Silver rating for buildings and a robust Community Benefits Plan, the project will result in not only economic opportunities but positive environmental and community impacts as well. -- read more here.

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 Author:

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