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Officials reveal building team, architectural details of Gordie Howe International Bridge

The latest rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
The latest rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority has made a long-awaited announcement about the private contractor that will build the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

That contractor isBridging North America, which is made up of an international consortium of companies including ACS Infrastructure Canada and Fluor Corporation. Other private partners include engineering, architecture, and financial firms.

Bridging North America was chosen “to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge” over the course of a 30-year agreement with the Canadian government, said WDBA Board of Directors Chair Dwight Duncan.

“This team met all of the technical requirements set out in the request for proposal, and is comprised of some of the most recognized leaders in the construction and infrastructure industry worldwide,” Duncan said.

Bridging North America was one of three finalists that underwent a two-year vetting process to win the role of “preferred proponent,” said WDBA interim CEO Andre Juneau.

“The procurement process was rigorous, overseen by an independent fairness monitor to ensure it is fair, open, and transparent,” Juneau said.

Bridging North America will also be responsible for building the Canadian port of entry, U.S. port of entry, and Michigan’s I-75 interchange connecting to the bridge.

The WDBA also revealed some key architectural details about the Howe bridge. According to Juneau, it “will have the longest main span of any cable-stayed bridge in North America at 853 meters, with towers rivaling the height of [Detroit’s 73-story] Renaissance Center.” Construction plans call for a six-lane bridge and a “multi-use path” for pedestrians and cyclists.

“This is going to be landmark. This is the new visual between Windsor and Detroit,” said WDBA spokesman Mark Butler.

Some key details await the deal’s “financial close,” though. Those include final design plans, a firm construction timeline, and the project’s total price tag, which is expected to range from roughly $2-$4 billion. Juneau says a final contract should be in place by the end of September.

Major construction will start after that, but some construction will “start later this month,” said WDBA board chair Duncan. Site preparations are already underway in both Windsor and in Detroit’s Delray neighborhood, which will host the U.S. side of the new bridge.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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