Canada approves new span for Detroit–Ontario Ambassador Bridge
- The owners of the Ambassador Bridge, which spans the Detroit River to connect Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada, have received a permit under Canada’s International Bridges and Tunnels Act to build a parallel replacement span, the Detroit Free Press reported.
- The Moroun family — staunch opponents of the Gordie Howe International Bridge planned nearby — along with the Detroit International Bridge Co. (DIBC) said the new Ambassador span will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America. DIBC has spent $500 million so far, and project costs are estimated at $1 billion, Curbed Detroit reported.
- For construction to begin, the bridge must be approved by U.S. government officials and its owners must agree to certain conditions, including taking down the existing bridge upon completion and committing to nearby infrastructure improvements.
A few miles down the Detroit River, the $2.1 billion Gordie Howe project is gearing up.
Earlier this month, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority extended the deadline for the three public-private partnership consortia bidding on the project to submit their final proposals. The delay was due in part to the addition of project requirements such as job training and community improvements.
Already, $350 million worth of pre-construction work has been completed on the U.S. and Canadian sides of the crossing and, as of this summer, the project was still acquiring land on the U.S. side. Despite delays and uncertainty surrounding land acquisitions, the span is expected to wrap up in 2022, at the earliest.
Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun, however, is fighting to see the bridge project scrapped. Moroun's privately-owned span supports more than one-quarter of trade traffic between the U.S. and Canada, putting the Gordie Howe crossing in direct competition with the existing span. Still, it’s unlikely Moroun's plans to build a new and improved Ambassador span will hurt Gordie Howe's prospects.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a joint statement calling for accelerated construction of the Gordie Howe bridge. The project also made a list of 50 high-priority infrastructure projects assembled by the Trump administration earlier this year, citing its traffic flow improvements and job creation potential.
Canada is paying for the bridge, and Michigan will subsidize its portion with tolls collected at a new $250 million toll plaza on the U.S. side of the crossing.
- Detroit Free Press Morouns get Canadian permit for second Ambassador Bridge span, say they'll build soon
- Curbed Detroit Morouns receive approval for second Ambassador Bridge span
- Detroit Free Press 7 things to know about Moroun's new Ambassador Bridge span