Groundbreaking held in Detroit for Gordie Howe International Bridge

Updated Jul 28, 2018
Photo: Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.Photo: Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.

Officials from both the United States and Canada took part in a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony in Detroit on Tuesday, marking the next step in the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. A similar groundbreaking ceremony will be held in Windsor this fall.

“This is an exciting day for Detroit, Windsor, Michigan, Ontario, the United States and Canada. After more than seven years of hard work, today we broke ground on what will be a thriving legacy named for a legend,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in prepared remarks during the event, according to the news agency. “Gordie Howe represented the best of Canada and the United States. And, thanks to the hard work of many people on both sides of the border, now this bridge to the future will represent our prosperous partnership for generations to come.”

The $4 billion bridge project is expected to begin construction this fall and be completed by 2022 or 2023. If all goes according to plan, the bridge will be the largest cable-stayed bridge in North America.

Officials on hand for the groundbreaking included Amarjeet Sohi, Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Kelly Craft, U.S. Ambassador to Canada; Detroit Police Chief James Craig, representing Mayor Mike Duggan; Dwight Duncan, chair of Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority’s (WDBA) Board of Directors; senior executives from Bridging North America, the company selected to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge; and Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle.

consortium of primarily Canadian companies was selected to build the bridge, which will be financed and operated through a Canadian public-private partnership. Canada and the U.S will each own half of the bridge, which will span 1.5 miles with three lanes in each direction, along with a dedicated multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.

The WDBA reports that $150 million has been invested in prep work on the U.S. side. The port will cover 167 acres and include inbound and outbound inspection of commercial and passenger vehicles. Enhancements will also be made to local roadways to loop the bridge into the grid. Four new vehicle bridges and five new pedestrian bridges are planned, as well as widened roads and a reconfiguration of I-75 interchange ramps and service drives.

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On the Canadian side, the WDBA reports that $200 million has been invested in prep activities. The project will create more than 575 jobs at its point of entry, and will be a boon to the economy and international trade for both countries.

The Gordie Howe bridge is named after the late hockey legend, who was born in Canada, grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and spent most of his 26 years in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings. He died in 2016.