Windsor-Detroit crossing gets environmental OK

Two federal departments and the local port authority have approved an environmental assessment of a new Windsor-Detroit border crossing.

Two Canadian federal government departments and the local port authority have approved an environmental assessment of a new border crossing between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit.

The $1.6B Windsor-Essex Parkway will connect Highway 401 to a new border crossing between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, Mich. ((The Windsor-Essex Parkway))
Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Windsor Port Authority have determined that the Detroit River International Crossing project "will not likely result in any significant environmental effects," according to a news release from Transport Canada.

The approval means federal officials can move ahead with a preliminary design for the bridge and inspection plaza, "as well as discussions with our U.S. partners on the procurement of the new crossing," the release said.

'This project ... is a once-in-a-generation undertaking.'—Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan

The assessment also considered the $1.6-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway, which will connect Highway 401 to the U.S. interstate system by way of the new border crossing. It will include a six-lane freeway, a four-lane service road network and 11 tunnels.

The Ontario government hailed the environmental approval as "another milestone" for the parkway, which is expected to provide a financial boost to the economically troubled region.

"Today's announcement means that we're closer to seeing 12,000 project-related jobs created," said Sandra Pupatello, MPP for Windsor West, where the crossing will be built.

"This project will bring jobs into Windsor immediately and position Windsor for future economic growth," stated Ontario's finance minister, Dwight Duncan, who is the MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh. "This project — and the most extensive transportation environmental assessment ever undertaken in our province's history — is a once-in-a-generation undertaking."