Minister of Transport Marc Garneau met with Mayor Drew Dilkens in Windsor Friday, making some assurances on the two cross-border bridge projects.

"So let me make it very clear, we need two bridges," said Garneau "The Gordie Howe bridge I can assure you, I can assure you with 100 per cent certainty it will be built."

The minister said the government recognizes a need for two spans and that's why they have issued a permit — with conditions — for the bridge company to build a replacement for the Ambassador.

Garneau stressed that the bridge company will have to provide permits detailing environmental evaluations, engineering studies, and costs to show how the Ambassador Bridge will be demolished. 

"If the Canadian Transit Corporation is not able to provide us with all of that information, the new bridge will not be authorized," he said.

"We're not prepared to accept the risks of an unused bridge ... which has demonstrated that it has deteriorated over time," said Garneau, adding that the new bridge would be closed down if the bridge company does not comply with taking down the old one. 

"No, the bridge will have to come down," he said. 

​Garneau said he believes work on the Gordie Howe bridge would begin by the end of 2018, after the government receives final bids from a short-list of companies to do the work. 

"This is an incredibly important crossing point for trade with Canada and the United States," he said.

Mayor Drew Dilkens and the minister said they also discussed plans for the Ojibway Shores property, which is owned by the Windsor Port Authority.

The minister was in Windsor for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Leadership Summit, happening in Detroit and Windsor until Sunday.