Reaching out to Canada: The Gordie Howe International Bridge Project

Photo courtesy of Bridging North America and Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

The Gordie Howe International Bridge Project, which will connect Canada to the United States over the Detroit River, is officially underway as of July 17, 2018.

U.S. and Canadian officials broke ground in the Delray area of Detroit to symbolize moving forward with the project, which has been the target of political strife over the past few years. The 1.5 mile, 6-lane span, with an included pedestrian/bike lane adjacent to the shoulder, is expected to cost nearly $4 billion and be completed by 2022 or 2023, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. Additionally, with the current design specifications, it will be the largest cable-stayed bridge in North America.

While many Canadian and American dignitaries are thrilled to begin construction, the victory was hard-fought and is still not wholly accepted. The Moroun family, owners of the nearby Ambassador Bridge which “currently handles 60 to 70 percent of truck traffic across the Detroit River,” have been fighting the project since its naissance any way they can: by appealing to President Trump via television commercials; attempting to inject the bridge into NAFTA negotiations; and trying to prevent the Michigan Department of Transportation from using eminent domain to wipe out Detroit neighborhoods.

Their aversion to the project comes from a proposed outcome: with the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, the Canadian Government have stipulated that the Ambassador Bridge will need to be torn down. “People can all make up stuff…but that bridge is going to be built,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder told Crain’s Detroit Business. “I’ve never been anti Ambassador Bridge. I’m pro Gordie Howe Bridge.”

Officials from the U.S. and Canada agree that the bridge will bring great opportunities to both sides of the border by accelerating trade and the flow of goods, creating more jobs, and strengthening relations between nations. Construction is expected to begin in the fall.