Ottawa moving forward on Windsor-Detroit crossing

Ottawa is moving forward with the process to get the new bridge between Windsor and Detroit built.

Canada to establish the six-member crossing authority

Bridge users are lining up to offer their wish list of features on new bridge. (Partnership Border Study)

Ottawa is moving forward with the process to get the new bridge between Windsor and Detroit built.

The Canadian government is forming the authority which will choose who will design, build and operate the bridge.

The agreement between Ottawa and Michigan makes is clear that the Canada establish the six-member crossing authority.

Within one month of last week's announcement, it must choose three members of the authority.

"There's going to be somebody from the federal government and there should be somebody that is going to reflect the security side of that ... somebody from [Canadian Border Services Agency]," said Bill Anderson, chair in cross border transportation policy at the University of Windsor.

Representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Strategic Fund choose the other three.

"The process of doing the request for proposals, then firms making their proposals and submitting them, that's something that will take a long time," Anderson said.

One good thing that may speed up the completion of the bridge is that the environmental assessment is done, according to Anderson.

It will probably be two years or so before work begins.

Wish list of features growing

When that happens, the head of Windsor's bicycling committee would like to see bike lanes on the bridge. She said Windsor is missing out on tourism because biking across the border is not allowed.

"Things like the underground railroad bicycling tour have to actually skip over Windsor because there's no cycling link between Detroit and Windsor," said Kari Gignac.

Anderson said it's an interesting idea but it would surely add to the cost of the project and there are security issues and concerns too many people will try to jump off.

Meanwhile, greenhouse vegetable growers would like to see truck inspection areas dedicated to food inspection. That's so loads of perishable goods can be examined quickly and without cross contamination..

But these and other fine details of the design of the bridge are still many months away.