Tunnel linking Windsor and Detroit turns 85 today

The Windsor-Detroit tunnel celebrates its 85th birthday today and it’s commissioning a mural to mark the occasion.

The Windsor-Detroit tunnel celebrates its 85th birthday today and it's commissioning a mural to mark the occasion.

Detroit-based artist Jesse Kassel has been selected to create the work, which will be at the Detroit toll plaza.

"We're having the mural depict our history," Deborah Buckson, the tunnel company's director of administrative services said in an interview with CBC News.  

"It'll have a tunnel view, with an old car heading through the tunnel, a 1930s Studebaker will be going in and there will be a futuristic car coming towards us, almost like a hovercraft," she said.  

The mural is expected to be completed by mid-November. 

With almost 10,000 vehicles making the crossing every day, the tunnel is still a workhorse, even though it would be old enough to collect a pension, if it were a person.

In 1930, about 600 labourers with pickaxes and shovels tunneled out the dirt underneath the Detroit River. The $23-million US project was completed in two years.

Neil Belitsky, the tunnel company's president, said the Windsor-Detroit tunnel is the only underwater, automotive roadway linking two countries in the entire world.

"If the tunnel was built today, it'd be an engineering marvel," Belitsky said. "You wouldn't get your permits in two years, let alone complete construction in that amount of time."

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