In 2008, a new border transportation system for the Windsor-Detroit gateway was identified through the bi-national Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study. Its five components included an Ontario access road – the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway, a Canadian Port of Entry, a river crossing – now known as the Gordie Howe International Bridge, a US Port of Entry, and the Michigan Interchange to Interstate-75 (I-75).
Hundreds of public and stakeholder meetings were held during the study. The input and feedback received at these meetings have informed the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. Through the DRIC study, Canada and the US committed to future communication and consultation with the public, indigenous peoples, regulatory agencies and stakeholders on various topics.
The commitments made by both countries are slightly different because they address the unique needs and circumstances of each host community. Commitments made during the DRIC study will be fulfilled by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) at the appropriate time during the design, build, operation and maintenance of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Canadian commitments are documented in the Canadian Screening Report and the Notice to Proceed. Commitments focus on the following topics: air quality, noise, waste, excavated materials, species at risk, vegetation, invasive species, wildlife, migratory birds, surface water, groundwater and fish/aquatic resources, stormwater, sediment and erosion, spills, urban landscape (aesthetics), archeology, and traffic.
US commitments are documented in the Environmental Impact Statement, Green Sheet, and Memorandum of Agreement. Commitments focus on the following topics: visual effects, noise, infrastructure, pedestrian and bicycle bridges, lighting, vibration, maintenance of traffic, local roads, air quality, tree removal/clearing and landscaping, water quality, urban landscape (aesthetics), and historical archaeology.
The Canadian and US environmental documents can be found at www.partnershipborderstudy.com. Commitments applicable to both counties have also been documented in the Crossing Agreement for the Gordie Howe International Bridge and the Bridge to Strengthen Trade Act.
Ensuring that the residents, business owners and governments of the region are engaged, kept informed and play a role in the planning and delivery of the Gordie Howe International Bridge is not only a top priority for WDBA but a commitment made during the DRIC study. WDBA will hold public meetings and, once the private sector partner is selected, additional public meetings will be held allowing the public to be consulted on continued design features and construction approaches.
For more information about WDBA and the Gordie Howe International Bridge project visit www.gordiehoweinternationalbridge.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WDBAbridge, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WDBAbridge and connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/wdba-apwd.