Officials with the Gordie Howe International Bridge project have announced the recipients of its 2021 community benefit grants. A total of $100,000 Canadian dollars is being doled out to support areas impacted by bridge construction on both sides of the Detroit River.
The group receiving the most money on the Michigan side of the span is the First Latin American Baptist Church in Detroit. It will receive more than $20,000 in U.S. currency to build a new community recreation center.
“We’ve gone up about 120 feet above the ground.” —Bryce Phillips, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, on construction of the towers that will support the road deck
Pastor Kevin Casillas says it’s something the church has wanted to do since being relocated to make room for the bridge.
“We began the project,” says Casillas, “but because of COVID-related delays and increase in cost, things got a little tight with the budget.”
On the Canadian side of the bridge, the group receiving the largest grant is the Essex County Historical Black Research Society. Officials say the funds will go toward a short film series on Black history in Sandwich, Ontario. In total, there were nine projects — six based in Windsor and three in Detroit.
Despite some COVID-related obstacles, bridge officials say construction is still on track to be completed by the end of 2024. Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority CEO Bryce Phillips says work is underway to build the 720-feet-high towers that will support the road deck.
“We’ve gone up about 120 feet above the ground,” says Phillips, “and we’re building that piece by piece.”
Once completed, officials say the new bridge will save international truckers more than 800,000 hours in transit time each year. They say that could lead to billions of dollars in economic impact over the life of the span.