Gordie Howe International Bridge to connect Windsor and Detroit
New bridge will honour Mr. Hockey, Canadian whose career included 25 seasons with Detroit Red Wings
The Gordie Howe International Bridge is the name of the new international crossing that will eventually connect Windsor, Ont., and Detroit.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement Thursday in Windsor.
- $250M U.S. customs plaza to be paid for by Canada
- Gordie Howe honoured by Wayne Gretzky, other NHL legends
Howe, who was born in Floral, Sask., became known as Mr. Hockey during his historic career, including his first 25 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL.
"Mr. Hockey, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, is a proud Canadian who led the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup victories, building extraordinary goodwill between our two countries," Harper said in a statement.
"It is my sincere hope that this bridge, which bears his name, will continue this proud legacy by accelerating the flow of people, merchandise and services between our great nations for years to come."
Harper said the project, which will cost more than $1 billion, is on schedule. He expects it to be complete by 2020.
At a news conference on the bank of the Detroit River, Harper called Howe "a national hero and legend" and "an idol for generations of people in Detroit and Michigan" and beyond.
Howe is recovering from a series of strokes he suffered over the winter.
"To the family, we're all so pleased we can do this when Gordie is with us and doing better. It's great we're able to honour this living legend," Harper said.
Members of Howe's family were on hand for the announcement.
"Windsor is where it all began," Howe's son, Murray Howe, said, referencing the fact Howe's mother landed in Windsor after leaving Germany. "He is deeply moved by this gracious gesture."
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was also on hand for the announcement, tweeting out this illustration after.
NEWS: Gov Snyder & <a href="https://twitter.com/pmharper">@pmharper</a> announce the name of the bridge linking the US & Canada <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GordieHoweInternationalCrossing?src=hash">#GordieHoweInternationalCrossing</a> <a href="http://t.co/tVC5kWnVEP">pic.twitter.com/tVC5kWnVEP</a>—@onetoughnerd
Quebec to Florida
The bridge will feature a total of six lanes, associated border inspection plazas, and direct connections to Highway 401 in Ontario and Interstate 75 in Michigan, a major trade route in North America. The two highways combine to stretch from Quebec to Florida.
Canada and the U.S. have the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world, with two-way trade in goods and services of nearly $870 billion in 2014. Almost $2.4 billion of goods and services cross the Canada-U.S. border every day.
The Ambassador Bridge, currently one of three international crossings connecting Windsor-Detroit, is the busiest land border crossing in North America.
In moving forward on the project, the Canadian government tabled revised department spending figures in the House of Commons Thursday.
Among the figures is a $402.6-million price tag for the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority "to advance early work and land acquisition for the new Detroit River International Crossing."