Progress and Partnerships Continue on the Gordie Howe International Bridge Project
Windsor, Ontario – Two years ago today, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) announced that it had signed a $5.7 billion (CDN) fixed-priced contract with Bridging North America (BNA), its private-sector partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. That announcement signified that construction could begin on one of the largest infrastructure projects in North America and milestones on all four components of the project have been achieved since then.
Significant construction progress and our work with communities on both sides of the border continue despite the challenging times being faced worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Progress achieved to date includes:
Canadian Port of Entry (POE)
Wick drain installation to help consolidate the soils for future building construction has been completed with 133,000 wick drains installed. The remainder of 2020 will see a number of earthworks activities including significant onsite movement of soil materials used as surcharge to help settle the underlaying soils and the installation of temporary and permanent stormwater retention ponds. Utility installations will continue over the coming months.
Essential test shaft work for the bridge footings have been completed and construction of the tower foundations for the main bridge are now underway on both the Canadian and US bridge with the initial concrete pours already completed. Two massive tower cranes have been installed at both the Canadian and US bridge sites to aid in the construction of the two 220 metre/772 foot towers.
US Port of Entry (POE)
The site continues to be prepared for major construction with fence installation around the worksite and completion of the office trailers. Roads within the POE footprint have been permanently closed to facilitate Phase One and Two and Three of construction. Clearing and grubbing is complete and major earthworks have begun with more than 550,000 metric tonnes/1.2 billion pounds of engineered fill and surcharge material placed. Approximately 80,000 wick drains (of 87,900) have been installed to accelerate the settlement of soils to expedite construction and limit long-term settlement.
The demolition of five pedestrian bridges and three road bridges over I-75 is complete with the aesthetic design of the pedestrian bridges announced following public consultation. Work over the next several months will focus on the reconstruction of the three new road bridges over I-75. The new bridges are anticipated to be complete in spring of 2021.
Environmental and Sustainability
There is an overarching sustainable approach to the design, construction, and operation of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project to minimize impacts throughout the project life. The Canadian and US Port of Entry facilities are designed to meet LEED v4 Silver rating, and the Bridge and Michigan Interchange are designed to meet Envision Silver rating, both of which will ensure longevity while minimizing environmental impact.
The Gordie Howe International Bridge team continues to meet virtually with delivery partners in both Canada and the US to move Community Benefits Plan initiatives forward, realizing some of the positive social, environmental and economic outcomes envisioned for the Sandwich and Southwest Detroit communities. Initiatives delivered include funds to community organizations, tools to support local engagement in the project procurement activities, and training support through co-operative learning experiences and union engagement.
The approaches the Gordie Howe International Bridge project team have taken toward Community Benefits and Sustainability have been showcased as international best practices in recent case studies including the European Commission’s “Making Socially Responsible Public Procurement Work: 71 good practice cases” and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s “People-first Project Assessment Tool”.
The project team is holding online Community Meetings on September 29 (Canada focused) and 30 (US focused), 2020, to inform the public about the latest design and construction updates for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.
The Gordie Howe International Bridge project is expected to be in service by the end of 2024.
“Despite the need to change the way we all both live and work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not slowed down. I would like to take this opportunity to thank WDBA and Bridging North America staff, as well as our contractors, for their dedication over the last two years.”
- Bryce Phillips, CEO, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
“Bridging North America is committed to completing the project safely in the midst of these unprecedented times. Our partnership with WDBA remains strong and we appreciate the work of everyone involved at all levels of the project to ensure an innovative and best-in-class asset is delivered to the Detroit-Windsor community.”
- Aaron Epstein, CEO, Bridging North America
- Bridging North America has oriented over 2800 workers to the project in Canada and the United States with 50 per cent of those being local. Over 150 local businesses have been engaged to date.
- The most active period for construction on the project is expected to occur between 2021-2023, when approximately 70 per cent of total work hours will be expended.
- BNA has secured ISO 14001certification for its environmental management system ensuring that the extensive environmental and related external stakeholder engagement requirements are managed and measured in a manner that improves overall project sustainability and minimizes environmental impacts.
- Video: Construction Update
- Construction: The Next Six Months
- 9 Things to Know About Soil Consolidation
- 9 Things to Know About Sustainability
- Community Meetings Public Notice
About Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) is a not-for-profit Canadian Crown corporation created to deliver the Gordie Howe International Bridge project between Windsor, ON and Detroit, MI through a public-private partnership (P3). WDBA is responsible for overseeing and managing the construction and operation of the new crossing. For more information visit www.GordieHoweInternationalBridge.com and follow the project on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GordieHoweBrg.
About Bridging North America
Bridging North America (BNA) became the private-sector partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project in September 2018. BNA is comprised of some of the most recognized leaders in the construction and infrastructure industry which includes North American and international companies. BNA partners have significant experience carrying out major infrastructure projects such as the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway in Windsor, Ontario; New Champlain Bridge Corridor in Montreal, Quebec; Autoroute 30 in Montreal, Quebec; Eglinton Crosstown LRT in Toronto, Ontario; Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) in Montreal, Quebec; Automated People Mover at LAX Airport, California; Harbor Bridge, Corpus Christi, Texas; Tappan Zee Bridge in New York and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, California.
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Gordie Howe International Bridge
Media Relations Team