Work to assemble the Gordie Howe International Bridge is underway on both sides of the Detroit River, as crews in Ontario have now started construction of the new span. Officials from Michigan and Canada were in Windsor on Friday to celebrate the milestone.
One of the dignitaries in attendance was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He says the bridge will have a positive economic impact on both the U.S. and Canada.
“We’re bringing good jobs to southern Ontario and making our trade networks better than ever before,” says Trudeau. “The Gordie Howe International Bridge is just the latest example of what can happen when all orders of government work together with support from the private sector to strengthen and grow our communities.”
Trudeau says a new international span is needed now more than ever, following the announcement of a new North American trade deal — known as the “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement” — earlier in the week.
“I’m confident that integrated two-way trade between Windsor and Detroit will only increase from here, which is a great thing for local communities and the national economy,” says Trudeau.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was also at the event. He says he respects the way Canada handled itself in trade talks, considering “the tone of that agreement and the tone of America today.”
“The greatest challenge in America today is not foreign issues,” says Snyder. “It’s us being nice to ourselves. We need to overcome that and it will take time. In the meantime, hopefully our friends will bear with us as we go through that exercise. The pendulum will swing back at some point.”
Snyder says the new span wouldn’t have been possible if Canada wasn’t financing the project. He adds that the bridge will serve as an enduring symbol of friendship between the neighboring countries.
“And it’s just not about business. It’s the opportunity to ride bikes, to build cultural ties, [and] about educational opportunities. This bridge truly is another great connection between our countries and will only cement a relationship that’s gone on for a couple hundred years already, and make it stronger and better.”
The span will feature a cable-stayed design and is expected to rival the Renaissance Center in height. Construction work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge is scheduled to wrap up in 2024, although Prime Minister Trudeau says talks about speeding up the process are ongoing.