In 2008, a new border transportation system for the Windsor-Detroit gateway was identified through the bi-national Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study. Its five components included an Ontario access road – now known as the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway, a Canadian Port of Entry, a river crossing – now known as the Gordie Howe International Bridge, a US Port of Entry, and the Michigan Interchange to Interstate-75 (I-75).
The goal of a new crossing for the Windsor-Detroit gateway is to provide a safe, efficient and secure end-to-end border crossing system directly connecting Highway 401 in Windsor and I-75 in Detroit.
The new crossing will address four key regional transportation and mobility needs:
- provide new border crossing capacity to meet increased long-term travel demand
- improve system connectivity to enhance the continuous flow of people and goods
- improve operations and processing capabilities at the border
- provide reasonable and secure crossing options (i.e. network redundancy).
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) is a not-for-profit Canadian Crown corporation created to manage the procurement process for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan through a public-private partnership (P3). WDBA is also responsible for project oversight.
The Gordie Howe International Bridge project will be built using a P3 model. The P3 model is a contractually binding commitment by the private sector to deliver infrastructure at a pre-determined price and fixed date with meaningful penalties in case of contract defaults. This provides financial certainty to WDBA and to taxpayers. It also offers guarantees that the infrastructure will be well maintained for a long period of time. The private partner will design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the project for a specified period of time.
There are the four components of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project – the Canadian Port of Entry, the bridge, the US Port of Entry and the Michigan Interchange.
The project includes a six-lane bridge, providing three Canada-bound lanes and three US-bound lanes over the Detroit River. Two bridge types were considered under the DRIC study – cable stayed and suspension. The bridge will have a clear span of 850 metres/2788 feet across the Detroit River with no piers in the water. Two approach bridges (one on each side) will connect the main span to the Canadian Port of Entry and the US Port of Entry. The crossing will be approximately 2.5 kilometres/1.5 miles in length.
The Canadian Port of Entry
The Canadian Port of Entry will be situated on an approximately 53 hectare/130 acre site that will include such features as Canadian inbound border inspection facilities for both passenger and commercial vehicles, Canadian outbound inspection facilities, tolling operation for both the US-bound and Canada-bound traffic, and maintenance facilities. Once constructed, this port will be the largest Canadian port along the Canada-US border and one of the largest anywhere in North America.
The US Port of Entry
The US Port of Entry will be situated on an approximate 60 hectare/145 acres site that will include such features as US inbound border inspection facilities for both passenger and commercial vehicles, US outbound inspection facilities, and commercial exit control booths.
The Michigan Interchange will consist of the primary connecting ramps to and from the US Port of Entry and associated local road improvements required to fit the new ramps into the interstate system. The Michigan Interchange includes four new crossing road bridges, five new pedestrian bridges, four long bridges crossing the railway and connecting I-75 to the US Port of Entry, and service roads and local road improvements.
For more information about 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.