November 24, 2017 - Speech by André Juneau, Chief Operating Officer at the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority’s Annual Public Meeting

Good afternoon/Bonjour

Before I begin my remarks, I would like to thank our Chair, Dwight Duncan, and the entire WDBA Board of Directors for their support.

Since becoming WDBA’s Chief Operating Officer, I have spent much of my time in briefings and meetings with WDBA staff to get the information I need to know and to get to know the people working on this historic project.

Over the past weeks, I have also embarked on a parallel stream – reaching out to our stakeholders and partners in Windsor and Detroit so as to better understand how the Gordie Howe International Bridge will impact them.

Collectively, our stakeholders and our partners are supportive of the project. They know that the new bridge will benefit businesses and communities on both sides of the border.

I have also heard their concerns.

Involving those who are affected by, or have an interest in our project, will result in more ideas on the table and, quite simply, a better project.

That is why WDBA has applied considerable effort and, frankly resources, in engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders.

And we will continue this engagement though the procurement process, the construction phase and during the operation of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

Our project is the most ambitious bi-national border infrastructure undertaking along the Canada-United States border.

It is a complex project and is made up of four key components, the Canadian Port of Entry, the bridge span itself, the US Port of Entry and the I-75 Interchange.

As such, WDBA has a team of talented, high calibre employees who together are working to deliver the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

I would like to take a moment to recognize the executive team for their commitment and leadership:

  • Marta Leardi-Anderson - Vice President P3 Procurement
  • Heather Grondin - Vice President of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
  • Linda Hurdle - Chief Financial Administrative Officer, and
  • Leslie Martin - Executive Vice President of Engineering and Operations

And, the entire WDBA staff for all of their expertise and dedication.

Once built the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be the only border crossing in Windsor-Detroit that has direct connections to the highway system in Canada and the interstate system in the US.

WDBA has realized many successes over the last fiscal year as we deliver the project.

They include:

  • the issuance of the Request for Proposals to the three Proponent teams

  • the announcement of a dedicated multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge, and

  • meeting and consulting with thousands of stakeholders and members of the public.

WDBA has also made significant progress in preparing the sites of the Canadian and US Ports of Entry for the construction of the bridge and for the work to be done by our eventual private-sector partner.

In Canada, preparatory activities included:

  • completion of the Broadway Drain

  • utility relocation

  • partial completion of the 4.4 kilometre perimeter access road, and

  • the placement of more than one million tonnes of fill. In the US, work included:

  • preliminary site investigation

  • surveying

  • demolition

  • utility relocation, and

  • the acquisition of 346 land parcels.

WDBA is poised to begin significant construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge in the latter half 2018.

Over the past year we have worked hard and we will continue our efforts to deliver the project - one which will literally change the landscape of the Windsor-Detroit region and will provide new economic opportunities in Canada and the United States.

Individuals, businesses, trade unions, community groups and governments on both sides of the border have endorsed the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

The Government of Canada is committed to the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

WDBA’s job is to deliver on the Government's commitment. And that is exactly what we are doing.

They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

Let’s take a few moments to watch our video that demonstrates the tremendous momentum already underway.