New timeline set for Gordie Howe International Bridge
By Adam FreillBridges Construction Infrastructure
Citing pandemic-related challenges, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is now targeting September of 2025 for construction completion; traffic use to commence that fall.
Construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge is now expected to be completed in September of 2025, with the bridge opening to traffic in the fall of 2025, reports the project team.
Originally scheduled for completion in November 2024, the $5.7 billion project was expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2024, but the team working on the project says that, like many other construction projects underway over the past few years, the project experienced unprecedented disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, necessitating the revised timeline. These challenges had an additional layer of complexity, says the team, given that the Gordie Howe International Bridge project had to navigate Canadian and American pandemic rules and regulations that were not necessarily in alignment.
The public-private partnerships (P3) contract between Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and Bridging North America (BNA) provides for the schedule and cost impacts of certain risks to be shared, so the two organizations have agreed to amend the contract to include the new September 2025 construction completion date, new measures to ensure this date is achieved, and an updated overall contract value, which has now been set at $6.4 billion.
“After a three-year pandemic and considering the size and complexity of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, our project team is pleased that the impact to the construction schedule is limited to only 10 months beyond the original contracted completion date and that we could agree on a reasonable adjustment to the contract value,” stated Charl van Niekerk, WDBA CEO. “With safety as our top priority, we will continue to work together to deliver this much needed infrastructure to the thousands of eager travellers ready to cross North America’s longest cable-stayed bridge.”
WDBA has also budgeted for a one-year extension of the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan, a $3-million fund that will be divided equally between Canada and the United States that will impact residents and business owners in Sandwich/west Windsor and Delray/Southwest Detroit. Details about the allocation of this funding is expected be shared later this year, with allocations to be available to these communities in the 2025-26 fiscal year.
“We appreciate the ongoing commitment of our partners at WDBA and BNA to keeping this vital project on track during an unprecedented worldwide pandemic that presented many obstacles on both sides of the border,” added Bradley Wieferich, director at Michigan Department of Transportation. “We saw a great deal of work completed in 2023 and look forward to opening this great bridge in 2025.”
Among the key construction milestones reached in 2023 were the completion of the bridge towers in Canada and the United States. In 2024, the bridge deck is scheduled to be connected over the Detroit River and the last of the 216 stay cables installed. Completion of the Port of Entry agency buildings and the concrete for the I-75 ramps is also scheduled. Following construction completion, the project team will finalize operating processes and testing to fully prepare the facilities for traffic crossing the border starting in fall 2025.