Another Step Closer: A Look at the Gordie Howe Bridge

dickeys top TXTAnother Step Closer: A Look ctechadat the Gordie Howe Bridge

(Guest View by Carmine Palombo, SEMCOG, Dec. 1, 2015)

Last week, Canada celebrated the opening of the Herb Gray Parkway – essentially a $1.4-billion driveway to the new Gordie Howe Bridge. Michael Cautillo, head of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, charged with building and operating the new bridge, spoke at the Windsor Chamber of Commerce annual meeting to discuss the progress being made in building this massive project.

On our side of the border, efforts are underway by MDOT to acquire the hundreds of parcels necessary to build the project. It is an entirely different story on the Canadian side. In addition to construction of the Herb ChamberAd_01Gray Parkway, which will connect the new bridge directly to Highway 401 in Canada, a $60 million “early works” project has also recently begun in the former Brighton Beach area to strip away top soil and reinforce the soil with yards of crushed stone.

Cautillo also gave us a peek into the size of the “Gordie,” indicating that it will be more than twice as wide as the existing Ambassador Bridge with the twin spires soaring approximately 70 stories when finished, meaning they will both be approximately the height of the Renaissance Center. It is going to be massive and lit up as well – visible from miles away! Cautillo indicated that building an “iconic” structure was a key part of the early discussions. They want the Gordie to become a regional landmark.

This meeting was followed up with public meetings on both sides of the garden16_laura_bermanborder to provide information to elected officials and the public on the status of the project. Several consultant teams have formally responded to requests of interest sent out by the authority. This will be followed up with a formal proposal process and selection of a team to begin the actual design and construction. Obviously, there is a long way to go before the first car – or maybe it will be a truck – goes over the bridge, but it sounds like it will be fun watching it go up.

Carmine has more than 30 years of experience in various phases of transportation planning at SEMCOG (SE Michigan Council of Governments). He is responsible for administering SEMCOG’s transportation planning program, which includes the region’s long-range transportation plan and short-term transportation plan. Learn more about SEMCOG at www.SEMGOG.org.

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