Gordie Howe International Bridge
Rendering by Windsor–Detroit Bridge Authority
|Location||Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor|
|Proposer||Michigan Department of Transportation and Ministry of Transportation of Ontario|
|Cost estimate||$5.7 billion|
|Supporters||Former PM Stephen Harper (Canada), Gov. Rick Snyder (Michigan), Ford Motors' executive chairman Bill Ford, Steve Buehrer (Ohio)|
|Opponents||Manuel Moroun (Detroit International Bridge Company, Canadian Transit Company)|
The Gordie Howe International Bridge (French: Pont International Gordie-Howe), previously known during development as the Detroit River International Crossing and the New International Trade Crossing, is a project to build a cable-stayed bridge and border crossing across the Detroit River. The crossing will connect Detroit and Windsor by linking Interstate 75 and Interstate 96 in Michigan with the new extension of Highway 401 (called the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway) in Ontario. This route will provide uninterrupted traffic flow, as opposed to the current configuration with the nearby Ambassador Bridge, which connects to city streets on the Ontario side. The bridge will be named after Canadian ice hockey player Gordie Howe, who was best known for his tenure with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.
First proposed in 2004, the project was met with prominent opposition by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun, who believed that competition from a publicly owned bridge would reduce his revenue. A Canadian federal Crown corporation, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, was established in 2012 to coordinate construction and management of the bridge. The project was approved by the United States government in April 2013. The following month, the Canadian government allocated $25 million to begin land acquisition on the Detroit side.
The project is underway, preparing the site for construction on both sides of the river and over $350 million has been spent on the project. In May 2018, the Ambassador Bridge owner failed in its appeal to stop expropriations in the Delray neighbourhood. Bridge construction started. The "Bridging North America" consortium was selected on July 5, 2018 to build the bridge. Minor construction started in July 2018 and major construction later that year. Workers broke ground on July 17, 2018. Construction is expected to be completed in 2024.
The project began as the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) in 2004, and received approvals in 2007 and 2008 with Ontario beginning Windsor–Essex Parkway construction in 2011. The highway, renamed the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway in December 2012, was completed in November 2015, although problems with several girders that were already installed forced a delay in the parkway's completion as the girders need to be replaced. The delay did not affect the bridge project's timetable.
In 2011, the bridge was tentatively scheduled for completion in 2016, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation. It was estimated that the bridge would generate $70.4 million in toll revenues in its first year of operation. The Michigan Senate's Economic Development Committee dealt the plan a setback by turning down a $550 million Canadian appropriation in October 2011, but an agreement announced June 15, 2012, ensured the project will proceed with the Canadian federal government funding bridge construction, land acquisition in Michigan and the construction of Interstate 75 on-ramps. The Canadian contribution will be repaid from bridge tolls collected on the Canadian side, and no tolls will be charged on the U.S. side.
On April 12, 2013, the US Department of State and the Obama Administration granted Michigan the permit required to build the bridge, allowing construction to go forward once details were finalized.
The Canadian government allocated $25 million to begin land acquisition on the Detroit side on May 22, 2013. A Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), with three representatives from each side, was appointed July 30, 2014. In January 2015, Parsons Corporation was named the general engineering consultant for the bridge. On February 18, 2015, Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt announced that Canada would fund the construction of a customs plaza on the U.S. side of the bridge in Detroit's Delray neighbourhood. The plaza will have a budget of around $250 million, and be recouped through tolls. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will provide a first-year investment of $150 million, and an "ongoing annual requirement" of $50 million, to cover the plaza's operational and staffing costs.
The cost of building the Gordie Howe International Bridge escalated by CA$3.5 billion as the value of the Canadian dollar declined in 2015-2016. In January 2016, it was reported that, due to exchange rates and increased inflation, costs could rise to CA$4.8 billion. The Herb Gray Parkway was completed in November 2015. Its estimated cost was CA$1.4 billion.
In July 2016, it was announced that many properties that would be required to build the bridge were still in the hands of owners. An estimated 30 of the 900 properties needed were considered to be problems if the owners resist selling. Dwight Duncan, the former finance minister for Ontario, is the interim chair of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority developing the project. In July 2016, the CBC reported Duncan had advised the Government of Canada to consider buying the Ambassador Bridge from Moroun.
In a joint statement released after a meeting between newly elected U.S. president Donald Trump and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on February 13, 2017, the two governments reiterated the support of the "expeditious completion" of the project. Construction is expected to start in 2018 after a project contractor is selected in 2017.
In June 2017, the City of Detroit sold 36 city-owned parcels of land, underground assets and five miles of city-owned streets in the Delray neighbourhood, which is the site of the U.S. Customs facility. A $33 million neighbourhood improvement fund for the neighbourhood was set up. Residents of the area can choose to stay and have their existing home renovated or move to a renovated home in a different neighbourhood. The Ambassador Bridge filed a lawsuit to try to stop the expropriations, but in May 2018, the Michigan Court of Appeal ruled against the Ambassador Bridge owner.
On July 5, 2018, it was announced that the consortium Bridging North America had been named as the builder for the project. On September 28, 2018, it was announced that the project would cost CA$3.8 billion and would be completed by the end of 2024.
The bridge design is the work of Moriyama & Teshima, a member of the "Bridging North America" consortium. The bridge will have an "A" shape, six-lanes for automotive traffic, with a cycle and walking path. It will be 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) long. It will have the longest main span of any cable-stayed bridge in North America at 853 metres (2,799 ft).
With traffic crossing the border anticipated to grow from 18,500 vehicles a day in 2016 to 26,500 by 2025, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will provide an orderly flow of people and goods between the two countries. Transport Canada retained the engineering firms, Morrison Hershfield, Davis Langdon, and Delcan to develop cost estimates for right of way and utility relocation; design and construction; and operation and maintenance on the Canadian side of the crossing.
The bridge will connect to an extension of Highway 401, locally named the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway, on its east side. The parkway is below-grade and has six through-lanes. It follows (but does not replace) Talbot Road and Huron Church Road from a new interchange at the former end of Highway 401 to the E. C. Row Expressway, where it runs concurrently westward for 2 km (1.2 mi). From there, it turns northwest and follows a new alignment to the border. Initial construction of a noise barrier from North Talbot Road to Howard Avenue began in March 2010. Two new bridges south of the Highway 3/401 junction were also constructed. Full construction of the parkway began in 2011, and was completed in November 2015.
Construction of the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway that links to the bridge on the Canadian side was hampered by concerns that it could affect a habitat of Butler's garter snakes in the area, which were their last-known habitat in the province. During the construction process, the snakes (including eastern fox snakes, and the garters—of which there were a larger number than originally alleged) were relocated by biologists, with their new habitats protected by a specially-designed above and below-ground fencing system along affected portions of the E. C. Row Expressway.
The Michigan Senate has not approved any authorizing legislation related to the bridge. The Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop has stated that the Senate will not vote until revenue forecasts are released, reports that are being withheld by the director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. The Michigan House of Representatives has already passed the measure while the bill is called "doomed" in the Senate. In 2009, the Ohio State Senate passed a non-binding resolution expressing support for the crossing, and urged the Michigan Government to pass it, due to Canada being Ohio's largest foreign trade partner, with US$35.8 billion per year in goods traded between Ohio and Canada.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder supported construction of the new crossing in his first State of the State address on January 19, 2011. His plan would leverage Canadian money to receive a 160 percent match—totaling $2.2 billion—on funding from the Federal Highway Administration in a deal reached the week previous to the speech. In August 2011, Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall, when asked by The Windsor Star if enabling legislation for the bridge would currently pass, replied "absolutely not."
In October 2011, "the Michigan Senate rejected a bill [which] would have allowed the state to accept $550 million from the Canadian government to fund the country's share of the New International Trade Crossing." One commentator, Bill Mann, noted the rejection, saying "Canada calls the new bridge its biggest infrastructure priority and has even offered to pay for the span. But pesky U.S. special-interest politics intrude once again," as he reviewed a number of "U.S. government actions (and inactions) that show little concern about Canadian concerns". Mann drew from, and U.S. attention to, Macleans' article sub-titled "we used to be friends" about U.S.–Canada relations after the Keystone Pipeline, bridge and other "insulting" decisions.
The most vocal opposition to the new crossing has been from billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun, who owns the Ambassador Bridge. He has sued the governments of Canada and Michigan to stop its construction, and released a proposal to build a second span of the Ambassador Bridge (which he would own) instead. Critics suggest that Moroun's opposition is fueled by the prospect of lost profits from duty-free gasoline sales, which are exempt from about 60 cents per gallon in taxes even though the pump price to consumers is only a few cents lower.
In 2012, Moroun spent more than US$30 million promoting a proposed constitutional amendment that, had it passed, would have required approval of both the voters of Detroit and the voters of Michigan in statewide elections to build the bridge. US National Public Radio, in a November 2 story aired four days before the vote, indicated the amendment's "seemingly neutral language masks a very specific—and bitter—political battle". More than 60 percent of those who voted on the proposal rejected Moroun's Proposal 6, paving the way for the bridge to proceed.
In early June 2011, the conservative group Americans for Prosperity posted bogus eviction notices on homes in Detroit's Delray district. With the words "Eviction Notice" in large type, the notices told homeowners their properties could be taken by the Michigan Department of Transportation to make way for the proposed new bridge. The group's state director said the fake notices were intended to get residents to contact state lawmakers, to ask them to vote against the bridge project.
In July 2011, the Canadian Transit Company, the Canadian-side of Moroun ownership of the Ambassador Bridge, began running advertisements against the DRIC proposal, calling it a "$2.2 billion road to nowhere". The phone number listed for Canadian Transit Company forwarded to a phone number in Michigan, and the Canadian Transit Company previously held its 2011 annual meeting at the offices of the Detroit International Bridge Company. MPP Dwight Duncan advised that he was investigating whether or not the ads violated Ontario's election laws, which disallow public spending by foreign lobbyists. In 2018, the company aired television ads on Fox & Friends asking President Trump to cancel the project.
Snyder stated that he had "not [been] crazy" about naming the bridge the Detroit River International Crossing, noting that "DRIC" was intended only to be the name of the commission sponsoring the bridge, and not the bridge itself. Concerns were also acknowledged that the abbreviated name was too close to that of the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC)—which would be too sensitive given its objections to the project. Sometime afterward, the working name for the project became the New International Trade Crossing (NITC), garnering the endorsement of 139 organizations and individuals. It was under the NITC name that the project was approved by the U.S. State Department on April 12, 2013.
In late 2010, David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association, proposed naming the bridge in honor of Canadian professional ice hockey player Gordie Howe, who played the bulk of his career for the Detroit Red Wings. The naming was supported by a number of Canadian politicians, along with Howe's son Marty—who felt the name would have been symbolic of him having come from Canada to spend his NHL career in Detroit. On May 14, 2015, during an event attended by then-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it was officially announced that the bridge would be known as the Gordie Howe International Bridge. Howe, 87 and in ailing health, did not attend the ceremony. Later, when asked by his son what he thought about the naming, Howe remarked "That sounds pretty good to me." Howe died one year later on June 10, 2016.
- Bridges portal
- Ontario portal
- Michigan portal
- Metro Detroit portal
- Ambassador Bridge, the existing suspension bridge international crossing, opened in 1929
- Detroit–Windsor Tunnel, a car-van-bus link between the two cities
- Blue Water Bridge, connecting Port Huron, Michigan, to Sarnia, Ontario
- "Gordie Howe International Bridge to cost $5.7B, create 2,500 jobs". CTV News Windsor. September 27, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- Dave Battagello (April 12, 2013). "New Detroit crossing seven years away". Windsor Star. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- Dave Battagello (May 22, 2013). "Canada to start buying property in Delray for DRIC bridge". Windsor Star. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- Mann, Bill (June 14, 2012). "Second Bridge at Detroit–Windsor? It's About Time". MarketWatch. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Detroit River International Crossing Study Team (May 1, 2008). "Parkway Map" (PDF). URS Corporation. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
- "WDBA awards $61M contract to oversee Gordie Howe bridge construction". CBC News. March 6, 2018.
- "Appeal to stop Gordie Howe Bridge project fails in Michigan court". CBC News. May 10, 2018.
- "Gordie Howe bridge will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America". CBC News. July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- Gallagher, John (July 17, 2018). "Gov. Snyder on Gordie Howe bridge start today: 'We need this bridge'". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
- "$3.8B to build Gordie Howe bridge, complete by end of 2024". CBC News. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- Government of Canada (March 3, 2008). "Border Transportation Partnership Reaches Milestone". Transport Canada. Archived from the original on February 25, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
- Chen, Dalson (January 3, 2013). "What To Nickname the Herb Gray Parkway?". The Windsor Star. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
- "Province wants to salvage parkway girders after report says hundreds don't meet standards". Windsor.
- Oosting, Jonathan (June 17, 2010). "MDOT Report: Detroit River International Crossing". MLive. Detroit: Booth Newspapers. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
- Tencer, Daniel (November 21, 2011). "Canada–U.S. Trade: Michigan Senate Committee Kills New Border Crossing". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- "$1B Windsor–Detroit Bridge Deal Struck". CBC News. June 15, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Battagello, Dave (April 12, 2013). "Michigan Governor Snyder Confirms Permit for DRIC Approved". The Windsor Star. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- "New Windsor-Detroit bridge gets Obama's OK". CBC News. April 12, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Office of the Spokesperson (April 12, 2013). "Issuance of Presidential Permit for New International Trade Crossing" (Press release). United States Department of State. 2013/0402. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- "DRIC bridge executive teams loaded with financial expertise, but nobody local". Windsor Star. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015.
- "$250M U.S. customs plaza to be paid for by Canada". CBC News. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Deal for new customs plaza in Detroit announced". Detroit Free Press. Gannett Company. February 18, 2015. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- The Canadian Press (January 4, 2016). "Gordie Howe bridge costs skyrocketing thanks to tumbling loonie". Windsor Star.
- CBC News (November 20, 2015). "Herb Gray Parkway construction work is all done, Transportation Minister says". CBC. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
- CBC News (July 10, 2016). "Gordie Howe bridge faces delays on both sides of border". CBC. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
- CBC News (July 28, 2016). "Canada should consider buying Ambassador Bridge, Ottawa told". CBC News. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
- "Howe bridge highlighted during Trudeau-Trump meeting". Windsor Star. February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
- Runyan, Robin (June 23, 2017). "City sells land in Delray for Gordie Howe International Bridge". Curbed Detroit.
- "Bridging North America will build Gordie Howe International Bridge". Windsor Star. July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- "$3.8B to build Gordie Howe bridge, complete by end of 2024". CBC News. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- "Backgrounder" (PDF). wdbridge.com. Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. July 5, 2018.
- Staff (May 1, 2010). Report to the Legislature of the State of Michigan Responding to Public Act 116 of 2009, Section 384 (PDF) (Report). Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
- Detroit River International Crossing Study Team (May 1, 2008). "Parkway Map" (PDF). URS Corporation. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- Detroit River International Crossing Study Team (2010). "What's Next" (PDF). URS Corporation. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
- Puzic, Sonja (May 7, 2011). "Parkway Work To Start in August, MPP Says". The Windsor Star. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- "Lenders could come down hard on parkway contractor if construction fails to meet deadlines - Windsor Star". windsorstar.com.
- "The Windsor-Essex Parkway" (PDF). Infrastructureintario.ca. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
- "Snake in path of parkway". The Windsor Star. Postmedia Network. January 7, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Windsor-Essex Parkway One Year Later". The Windsor Starpublisher=Postmedia Network. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Samuel, Peter (June 10, 2010). "Michigan Senate Leader Says: No $#s on DRIC Bridge, No Vote". TollRoadNews. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- "Laws, Acts, and Legislation". Archives.legislature.state.oh.us. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
- Christoff, Chris (January 19, 2011). "Snyder Backs 2nd Bridge for First Time". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
- Schmidt, Doug (August 16, 2011). "Sides Remain Entrenched After Cross-Border Tour: Vote for Public Bridge Would Fail Today, Says Michigan Senator". The Windsor Star. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
- Edmonson, R.G. (October 20, 2011). "Plan for Detroit–Windsor, Ont., Bridge Dealt Blow". The Journal of Commerce. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- Mann, Bill (November 24, 2011). "Americans Should Be Thankful for Canada". MarketWatch. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- Savage, Luiza Ch. (November 21, 2011). "The U.S. and Canada: We Used To Be Friends". Macleans. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- Mann, Bill (December 6, 2011). "A Bridge Too Difficult by Far". MarketWatch. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Staff (March 26, 2010). "Ambassador Bridge Boss Sues Canada, U.S". CBC News. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
- Bell, Dawson (April 25, 2011). "Tax-Free Fuel Sales Are Bonanza for Ambassador Bridge Owners". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
- Bomey, Nathan; Snavely, Brent (October 12, 2012). "UAW, Moroun Said To Be Allies in Battle To Block New U.S.–Canada Bridge". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Cwiek, Sarah (November 2, 2012). "In Michigan, A Contentious Battle Over A Bridge". Michigan Radio. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- "Transport Minister Says 'Path Clear' for Detroit–Windsor Bridge". CBC News. November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- Gallagher, John (June 7, 2011). "Conservative Group: Fake Eviction Notices Were 'Meant To Startle People'". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Avalon Consulting Professionals of Ontario (April 2011). "Appendix K: Windsor Official Plan". CEAA Environmental Impact Assessment (PDF) (Report). Canadian Transit Company.
- LeBlanc, Daniel (July 20, 2011). "Are U.S. Opponents of Windsor Bridge Trying To Influence Election?". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- Stamper, Dan (May 14, 2011). "Miscellaneous Notices: The Canadian Transit Company". Canadian Gazette. 145 (20). Retrieved August 3, 2011.
- Spangler, Todd (June 20, 2018). "Moroun TV ad asks Trump to pick America, reject Gordie Howe bridge". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- Wattrick, Jeff (February 3, 2011). "Forget the DRIC, How About the Gordie Howe International Bridge?". MLive. Detroit: Booth Newspapers. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- Staff (April 21, 2011). Supporting the New International Trade Crossing and Public Private Partnership Legislation (PDF). Detroit Free Press (Report). Retrieved May 9, 2011.
- Noble, Chris (February 8, 2011). "Gordie Howe Bridge Floated as New Span's Name". MarketWatch. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- "Gordie Howe International Bridge to connect Windsor and Detroit". CBC News. May 14, 2015. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Snyder: Naming bridge after Gordie Howe a no-brainer". Detroit News. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
- "Movement grows to rename arena Gordie Howe Arena". Fox2Detroit.com. Fox Television Stations. June 10, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- "Gordie Howe exposé en chapelle ardente". Le Journal de Montreal (in French). June 11, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) official website
- Detroit River International Crossing Project
- Herb Gray Parkway official website
- Conceptual Engineering Report
- New International Trade Crossing from the State of Michigan
- Mossman, Matt (December 2017). "Crossing Guards". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved November 27, 2017.