Early Works – An Overview

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) has selected Amico Infrastructures Inc. of Oldcastle, Ontario as its contractor to complete the Early Works on the site of the Canadian Port of Entry (POE). The Early Works activities will prepare the Canadian POE site for the work to be undertaken by the private-sector partner to be identified through the public-private partnership (P3) procurement process.

Included in this project is:

  • construction of a perimeter access road (PAR)
  • utility relocation
  • the placement of fill, grading and drainage.

Perimeter Access Road (PAR)

Once construction of a new four kilometre, two-lane PAR is complete, existing sections of Sandwich Street and Broadway Street located within the footprint of the Canadian POE will need to be closed. The new PAR will be built around the site of the Canadian POE. The road will provide public access to private and public properties adjacent to the Canadian POE. The new road will also allow for the access for emergency services such as fire and police. The new PAR will be constructed to City of Windsor standards. Ultimately, ownership of the new road will be transferred to the City and it will become a municipal roadway.

Utility Relocation

Various existing utilities including water lines, sanitary and stormwater systems, natural gas lines, and electricity transmission lines are located within the footprint of the Canadian POE. Several of these utility lines are obsolete and need to be abandoned. Many more need to be relocated so as to ensure that service to existing customers is not disrupted. The relocated utilities will be moved to the right-of-way along the PAR and in designated utility corridors throughout the Canadian POE. There will be no interruption of utility services during the relocation.

Fill, Grading and Drainage

The new Canadian POE will include several buildings, roadways and parking lots as well as bridge ramps and bridge piers. All of these elements will require a solid base on which they can be built. To ensure that the site is prepared for additional loading, various geotechnical soil improvement techniques will be utilized. These techniques include the installation of wick drains and fill surcharge which will accelerate the settlement of the underlying soils. The site will also be graded to accommodate a comprehensive drainage plan.

Learn more about the Early Works activities at www.wdbridge.com/en/early-works.

Works Underway

Species at Risk Removal – Collection and relocation of species at risk is ongoing. Experts collected hundreds of plants and species from the Canadian POE site. All workers in the project area have received species at risk training in accordance with environmental obligations.  

Exclusion Fence – Black geotextile fabric fencing called exclusion fencing has been installed to limit access to the site by species at risk, other wildlife and people. Approximately 4.5 kilometres / 2.8 miles of exclusion fence have been installed around the perimeter of the Early Works construction zone.

Grubbing and Topsoil Removal – To prepare the site for Early Works construction, the removal of existing vegetation along with stripping of topsoil is needed. Approximately 38,000 m3 / 1.3 million cubic feet of topsoil have been removed from the Canadian site so far.

Wick Drain Installation – Wick drains are man-made drainage paths to allow for faster settling of certain types of soils. They provide greater soil strength in areas where a significant amount of fill will be placed. Once the wick drains were installed to the depth of approximately 20 metres / 65 feet deep, fill was placed to build up the area in preparation for road construction and paving. In total over 42,000 wick drains were installed utilizing 850,000 linear metres of wick.

Drainage Blanket – Wick drains drain into this layer which directs the excess water to the surface drainage system. Approximately 91,000 tonnes of fill will be used for the drainage blanket.

Broadway Drain Reconstruction – The existing Broadway Drain is being reconstructed to accommodate future needs including planning for a rare storm event. The existing drain will be widened to over 20 metres / 65 feet in sections once completed. The design allows for a hibernacula – homes/habitat for snakes including species at risk that may be in the surrounding areas.  

Mitigation Measures

We recognize that construction can be noisy, dusty work. That is why measures are being undertaken to minimize impacts of construction to the surrounding area.

Potential EffectsMitigation Measure
Additional truck traffic for the hauling of fill and granular materialsTrucks are required to use designated haul routes and are confined to those permitted by the City of Windsor and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Possible temporary road closuresTraffic disruptions will be communicated in advance when possible and detours will be clearly marked.
DustDust mitigation measures have been implemented including periodic watering, sweeping and the installation of mud mats.
Erosion and sediment controlWick drain construction will include the installation of temporary drainage features to manage surface water quality and quantity. Regular inspection of all erosion and sediment control features are being undertaken and temporary stormwater management ponds are in place to manage water quality.
NoiseThe use of construction equipment that is in good repair, fitted with functioning mufflers and complies with noise emission standards, as required.

For more information about the WDBA and the Gordie Howe International Bridge project visit www.wdbridge.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WDBAbridge, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WDBAbridge and connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/wdba-apwd.

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA)

Illustration of bridge workers, Canadian flag, US flag, and trucks travelling on the bridge