Nearly $150 billion worth of products and materials are transported between the U.S. and Canada at the Detroit River annually. That represents approximately 25% of all land trade between the two countries.
With that relationship in mind, a new point of crossing — the Gordie Howe International Bridge — broke ground in 2018.
Heather Grondin, spokesperson for the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, says the new span will have a significant impact on commerce, eliminating several traffic lights on the Ontario side for semi-trucks connecting with Highway 401.
“We anticipate that can result in an 18 to 20 minute time saving,” Grondin estimates.
Listen: An update on Gordie Howe International Bridge construction.
While international trade prominently moves through the Detroit River, the corridor was once a place where escaped slaves using the Underground Railroad attempted to cross to freedom in Windsor. Grondin says the new bridge will include artwork to commemorate that journey.
“We recently launched a call for artists. One will ultimately be chosen to design a concept and construct a piece of art…which will be available to be seen in the area adjacent to the Canadian port of entry,” says Grondin.
Grondin points out one noticeable sign of progress are the stay cables going up on the bridge — adding the span’s two towers should reach their full height by the end of this year. She says crews are working toward the project’s contracted completion date of late 2024.