Construction on $2B Gordie Howe International Bridge to start in 2018
- The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority announced Friday that construction on the $2 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, will likely begin in the summer of 2018, according to MLive.
- The bridge will be completed under a public-private partnership, which provides for a 30-year maintenance contract. A private team holds the responsibility for final design and construction of the bridge, but that group won't be selected until May or June of next year, according to The Detroit News.
- Canada has agreed to finance the entire project and let Michigan pay its share via future revenue from toll collections. However, the bridge authority has cautioned that costs could have increased in the two years since the last estimate was compiled.
One hurdle the project still faces is land acquisition on the U.S. side of the bridge. The authority has paid $22 million for 351 properties, but that represents only 60% of the property needed, which totals 637 parcels valued at approximately $370 million.
One reported thorn in the process is the owner of the current U.S.–Canada Ambassador Bridge, Manuel "Matty" Moroun, who has sued to stop construction of the new bridge and has proposed building a new one himself instead.
The Ambassador Bridge currently handles almost 25% of trade traffic between the U.S. and Canada. If Moroun won't sell the authority a 42-acre piece of land, the Michigan Department of Transportation could seize it under eminent domain laws and let the court determine the price.
Construction teams in the running for the bridge contract include the joint ventures of Bridging North America, CanAm Gateway Partners and Legacy Link Partners. Within the bidding teams are construction giants Bechtel, AECOM, Barton Malow, Fluor Canada and Turner Construction.
In February, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump issued a joint statement that advocated for a speedy bridge construction schedule, and the project also appears on Trump's list of 50 high-priority infrastructure projects. Although Canada has agreed to finance the bridge, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has asked the Trump administration to fund the U.S.-side toll plaza, which would cost an additional $250 million.
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