From the Ground Up

The construction of any large infrastructure project requires a strong foundation, especially one with the longest main span of any cable-stayed bridge in North America. Recently, the Gordie Howe International Bridge project took critical steps towards the start of construction on the bridge piers with the assembly of test shafts.

There will be a total of four bridge piers built on land, with each pier supported by six shafts. The first step to building these shafts requires the installation of a caisson. These caissons are drilled to a depth of 37m/121ft, where a rebar cage is eventually inserted into the caisson, and later filled with concrete creating what is referred to as a production shaft.

‘Rebar, or reinforcing steel, is a steel bar used as a tension device in reinforced concrete structures to strengthen and aid the concrete under tension.

Photo of a test shaft with the Caisson and Rebar Cage labeled. The test shaft has two different purposes in the actual construction of the production shafts. First, it is used to verify the design for the ‘production’ version of shafts that will be drilled. Secondly, it helps verify the techniques used to produce the permanent shafts which will form the foundation supporting the main pylon, or tower of the bridge.

Learn more about the installation of the test shaft here:


Gordie Howe International Bridge wins Gold
On November 18, 2019, members from Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority and Bridging North America were honoured to be on hand in Toronto to accept the gold Project Financing Award for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project at the 2019 National Awards for…
Read More
Take Your Kid to Work Day 2019
On November 6, 2019, WDBA staff were proud to participate in the ‘Take your kid to work day’. The annual event enables youth to discover the diverse career opportunities within the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. This year, two students participated…
Read More
WDBA Announces Its Latest Farm Team Roster
This season, WDBA added 13 co-op students to its roster. The University of Windsor and St. Clair College students are loaded with big talent and come from several different faculties including engineering, human resources, marketing & communications, and…
Read More