(DETROIT, MI) – The Canadian Transit Company has been given the green light to go ahead with the construction of a new crossing over the Detroit River. Yesterday, the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, approved the construction and operation by the CTC of a new six-lane international bridge immediately west of the Ambassador Bridge.
“The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of ensuring the continued flow of trade and travellers between Windsor and Detroit, one of the most important Canada-United States border crossings,” said Garneau.
There are conditions set out in the approval, however.
The construction of the new bridge must be completed within the next five years. Prior to the opening of the new bridge, the work on the Canada Border Services facilities must be completed. During construction, the CTC must keep the Walpole Island First Nation appraised of the process, in particular the issues pertaining to archeology.
Within five years of the opening of the new bridge, the existing Ambassador Bridge must be demolished. During those five years, though, the Ambassador will be closed to traffic and used in limited circumstances and for system redundancy.
The footprint of the new bridge will fall within the boundaries of Wyandotte Street West, Indian Road, Riverside Drive West, and University Avenue West. All existing buildings within the boundaries will be demolished and a public park will be created.
The CTC will also construct an expansion to the existing Canadian Border Service facility. During the construction of the new bridge and the CBSA facility, Huron Church Road, between College Avenue and Wyandotte Street West will be closed permanently and a new road will be constructed to the new bridge campus.
Additionally, Fire Hall No. 4 on College Avenue will be closed and relocated to a new facility in Sandwich.
The CTC estimates that a further privately funded $500 million will be needed to complete all the associated construction for the new bridge. At the same time, the Canadian Government is moving forward with the $4.5 Billion taxpayer funded construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. The planning process for the Gordie Howe Bridge has recently stalled after the Bridge Authority put off the start of the project for a year.
The new bridge will land in Detroit and tie into existing connections to the three Interstate highways currently servicing the Ambassador Bridge. The Detroit-Windsor Gateway includes the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, and the Detroit River Rail Tunnel. It is the busiest commercial land border crossing between Canada the United States, handling more than 25 per cent of the overall Canada-US trade per year.