Bridging the future forward…

Gordie Howe International Bridge

Roger’s view from the cockpit as the bridge nears completion

May 23, 2024

by Roger Renaud

Standing impressively over the River, the two spans of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge, simultaneously being built across the Detroit River, between Canada and the USA, are getting very close to being connected.

Sailing under this new bridge, you are overwhelmed with its sheer size, the complexity, and beauty of the design and architecture. You become literally “awestruck”.

Gone will be the truck-traffic congestion on some of Windsor’s main thoroughfares and the bumper-to-bumper transport truck traffic, making automobile traffic across the bridge almost impassable. Currently, one lane each way on the old Ambassador Bridge is closed due to the necessary constant repairs taking place. There is netting under the old bridge to catch all the pieces falling onto boats in the river below, and onto automobile traffic on land.

The statistics state almost $500 million USD is the amount of trade that passes daily along the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, MI, the busiest border crossing in North America!

Time is of the essence when dealing with “just-in-time” inventory management. The 401 Highway westbound ends directly at the on-ramps to the soon-to-happen Gordie Howe International Bridge. This will be so beneficial to our manufacturing base. On the US side, the Bridge connects directly to the Interstate-75 highway system.

Here are a few statistics for all you number lovers:

  • Cost is $6.4 billion Canadian dollars. This project is funded by Canada.
  • 2000 days of construction
  • 2500 jobs
  • 2.5km/1.5 miles long
  • Clear span of 853m/.53 miles
  • Height of the piers: 220m/722 feet.
  • 37.5m/123 feet wide
  • Multi-use path of 3.6 m/11.8 feet
  • 6 traffic lanes (3 lanes each way)
  • 24 inspection lanes
  • 16 toll booths
  • The Canadian Port of Entry Plaza has 12,438 sq. m / 133,881 sq. ft of building space
  • The Gordie Howe International Bridge will include 216 stay cables – 108 pairs connecting from each tower to the bridge and road deck.
  • Between 38 and 122 metal strands of cable will be fed inside a weather-resistant, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipe to make up each stay cable. More than 16,000 metal strands will be used.
Howe, a Saskatchewan native, his first 25 seasons were spent with the Detroit Red Wings – a great name for a great international link

Canada could not have done more to give its manufacturing base, the most efficient access, to and from their US counterparts, and markets. It does the same for our American friends.

It’s simply awesome!

Roger Renaud is a regular contributor to CB OnBoard based in southwestern Ontario.

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