Building Cross-Border Connections

Seeking to improve the efficiency of border crossings at the busiest trade corridor between Canada and the United States, the governments of Canada and Michigan set about to build a new bridge. The proposed project, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, is designed to bypass city streets to reduce congestion and improve the flow of commercial and private traffic between the two countries.

Led by Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), a Canadian Crown corporation, the Gordie Howe International Bridge project is a $CA5.7 billion public-private partnership (P3) undertaking which includes designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining the new international crossing between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan.

We have been involved with the project since 2015, serving phases one and two as a general engineering consultant and helping support the P3 procurement process through financial close. As the project entered phase three, Parsons was awarded the role of owners engineer, providing technical expertise to the WDBA to ensure that design and build work is done according to the project agreement.

“The Gordie Howe International Bridge is a massive undertaking, including not only an 853-meter cable-stay main span bridge over the Detroit River, but customs inspection plazas on both sides of the border, a toll plaza, a full interchange with I-75 in Michigan, and local road improvements in Windsor and Detroit. When complete, it will be the longest cable-stay main span bridge in North America and will completely change the landscape and mobility of the communities it serves.” – Bruce Campbell, Project Manager

The six-lane bridge will include a state-of-the-art tolling system able to process a high volume of vehicles, making it faster and easier for commercial and private vehicles to get through toll stations. Intelligent Transportation Solutions (ITS) will provide lane control signs, which will be connected on both sides of the border to allow easy exchange of information so each agency can provide up-to-date information on travel crossing times to users.

A critical element of the project is maintaining and improving the safety of local roadways, including ensuring the cities of Windsor and Detroit remain connected for not only cars but pedestrians and cyclists as well. On the U.S. side of the bridge, five existing pedestrian bridges crossing I-75 will all be replaced to maintain connectivity, and a multi-purpose path for cyclists and pedestrians will be extended across the border.

Finally, the iconic bridge is designed to last 125 years with regular maintenance. It is being built to withstand significant traffic, as well as regular de-icing, and Parsons’ work as owner engineer is helping ensure the durability requirements are met.

We are continuing to work on the third phase of the project as design and construction get underway. The effort is expected to be completed in 2024, after eight years of work.  

For more information on the project, please visit www.GordieHoweInternationalBridge.com

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