(WINDSOR, ON) – Just after information was released on the approval of an application by the Canadian Transit Company, which operates the Ambassador Bridge, and what is known as the bridge’s Enhancement Project, which will bring a brand new bridge to the Detroit River crossing, the federal government announced a set of conditions to guide and govern the project.
In a statement issued from the office of Transport Minister Marc Garneau, the government acknowledged that the current Detroit-Windsor Gateway, “… is the busiest commercial land border crossing between Canada and the United States.”
Recognizing the situation, the government added that it is, “… committed to ensuring sufficient capacity to maintain an efficient trade corridor that can handle trade and traffic growth for the long-term, benefitting Canadians for generations to come.”
Garneau noted that while the second bridge has been approved, a project, which will be financed with the CTC’s own resources, the building of a second crossing down river, known as the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, will be, “… moving forward expeditiously.”
The Transit Company’s project of replacing the 87-year old Ambassador Bridge, the statement claimed, is important to the economic well-being of the region, “… particularly to the automotive industry and for daily commuter traffic between Windsor and Detroit, and needs to be replaced. The project will see the construction of a replacement six-lane bridge as well as an expansion of the Ambassador Bridge’s associated Canada Border Services Agency facility.”
As the project moves forward, the CTC will be scrutinized under Canada’s International Bridges and Tunnels Act. The act provides the regulatory framework in Canada for the construction, safety, and security of bridges between Canada and the US”
However, the construction process will be subject to, “… certain conditions that will ensure the efficiency, safety and security of the crossing and mitigate the impacts of the project on the local community.”
The government spelled out conditions which will include the dismantling of the existing bridge within five years after the replacement bridge opens, improving local infrastructure, creating a new public green space, protecting the environment, and the consideration of Indigenous interests.
Garneau, nor his office, provided detailed information with respect to the conditions. The Minister did hint, in a prepared statement about the program, that having two bridges built in close proximity to each other, “… will ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from the efficient movement of people and goods at this crossing while providing infrastructure improvements for the local community.”
Currently, the Detroit-Windsor Gateway is comprised of the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, and the Detroit River Rail Tunnel. Combined, the gateway is the busiest commercial land border crossing between Canada the United States. It handles more than 25 per cent of the overall Canada-US trade per year, and approximately 30 per cent of the trade carried by truck.
In 2015, 2.5 million trucks carrying over $120 Billion in two-way trade crossed the Ambassador Bridge. It is also the second busiest passenger vehicle crossing, with 4.2 million vehicle crossings in 2015.