Windsor

Gordie Howe bridge on track for 2024 opening

The team calls it an "aggressive" schedule, but Bridging North America still estimates a 2024 opening date is possible. 

You'll start seeing the towers of the bridge in the next year

(Sanjay Maru/CBC)

You can't see it if you're not looking for it, but work is going on to bring the Gordie Howe International Bridge to life.

The team calls it an "aggressive" schedule, but Bridging North America still estimates a 2024 opening date is possible. 

At the Canadian port of entry, drill shafts — footings for the main bridge towers — are already in the process of being installed. 

Click the player to hear more about the drill shafts installation:

At the Canadian port of entry, drill shafts — footings for the main bridge towers — are being installed.  0:59

Some elements like rebar cages are manufactured on site, and there's even geotechnical testing process to determine where and how deep the drill shafts can go. 

"The drill shafts are enormous," said Aaron Epstein, CEO of Bridging North America. "Ten of 12 are complete for the main frame. The tower footings we'll start in January."

Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority spokesperson Mark Butler said construction on the Canadian port of entry has progressed further than work on the U.S. port of entry. 

"We're a little further ahead on the Canadian side. On the U.S. side we had to do some additional work for the seawall," said Butler. "On the Canadian side, we expect to have the [drill shafts] done by the end of the year."

Four components being worked on simultaneously

According to Butler, you'll start seeing the towers of the bridge within the next year, but the beginnings of the bridge are already in place with the other components of the project.

Construction is happening simultaneously on the bridge itself, as well as the Canadian and U.S. ports of entry and on the Michigan interchange. 

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      Bryce Phillips, CEO of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority said the bridge's design aspects close to completion, meaning work will move into build phases as quickly as possible. 

      "As design comes on, it goes to construction immediately," said Phillips. "We don't wait for all design to be done before starting construction."

      Phillips said the "four-in-one" project is scaling up to be ready for 2024.

      Investing in community benefits

      As previously promised, groups involved with the Gordie Howe International Bridge project will invest in both Canada and the U.S. with $50,000 of funding for organizations that will benefit the Sandwich community and west Windsor neighbourhoods, as well as the Delray and southwest Detroit neighbourhoods. 

      Applications for initiatives can be submitted online and will be reviewed by members of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, Bridging North America and the Michigan Department of Transportation. 

      With files from Sanjay Maru

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