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Gordie Howe Bridge

The latest rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

As construction begins this fall on the Gordie Howe International Bridge, Michigan and Canadian officials say they’ll continue to engage affect residents on both sides of the border.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority held community meetings in both cities this week. Advance site preparation is already underway on both the U.S. and Canadian sides.

Image of the Britannia, c. 1915. A ferry on the Detroit River.
From the General Photo Collection, Archives of Michigan

With ground breaking this week on the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, it seems like the perfect time to mark the 80th anniversary of the last passenger ferry to cross the Detroit River. 

The latest rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Gov. Snyder and Canadian dignitaries are gathering in southwest Detroit for official groundbreaking on the new Gordie Howe International Bridge this morning.

Gov. Snyder has been instrumental in making the new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario a reality. He did an end-run around the state legislature and signed a deal with then-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2012.

Six years later, they’re finally breaking ground on the U.S. side of the Detroit River.

The latest rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Things appear to be moving ahead for construction on a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor. Last week, a consortium of builders was chosen to construct the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

However, trade tensions between the U.S. and Canada continue to rise, and the Moroun family — owners of the rival Ambassador Bridge — recently ran an oppositional ad on Fox and Friends asking President Trump to stop construction of the bridge.

The latest rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority has made a long-awaited announcement about the private contractor that will build the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

That contractor is Bridging North America, which is made up of an international consortium of companies including ACS Infrastructure Canada and Fluor Corporation. Other private partners include engineering, architecture, and financial firms.

artist rendering of proposed bridge
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

The family that owns the Ambassador Bridge is apparently trying a new tactic to stop a competing bridge from being built: a TV ad appealing directly to President Donald Trump.

A new bridge is dawning in Detroit. Matty Moroun isn’t the only one unhappy.

May 3, 2018
Gregg Wards owns the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry and has become one of the biggest champions of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, even though it will put him out of business.
(Bridge photo by Anthony Lanzilote)

Gregg Ward is a nice guy with a lousy view. His family business overlooks Detroit’s hell on earth: the hulking, pitch-black U.S. Steel plant on Zug Island whose blast furnaces belch 30-foot plumes of fire.

Next door, mixing trucks kick up dust at a massive concrete operation, the air is so thick that black grime coats street signs. Sometimes, when the wind shifts, the scent of chemicals gives way to feces from Detroit’s nearby wastewater treatment plant.

The Cobo Center in Detroit
Richard Landskroener / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Democrats will gather at the Cobo Center in Detroit on Sunday for their party's state endorsement convention. These conventions are generally pretty drama-free, but this one could be different.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the bitter race between Dana Nessel and Patrick Miles, who are both seeking the nomination for Michigan's next attorney general.


Dilapidated homes in Delray near Detroit.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

At least four Detroit families are set to be relocated to new homes in the city as part of the first round of the city’s home swap program.

The program was established for some homeowners in southwest Detroit’s Delray neighborhood, which will be home to the new Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

artist rendering of proposed bridge
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

One of the ways that the state of Michigan takes action is by passing legislation. The state House and Senate pass bills, send them on to the governor and if he signs them, they become law. However, the governor has an end-around option that doesn't involve the Legislature and doesn't get much attention.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority's public information meeting in Detroit
Virginia Gordan

Construction on the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Detroit and Windsor is expected to begin in the second half of 2018. 

But if you are wondering when you will be able to drive across it, it is still too soon to know.

That's according to Michigan and Canadian public officials who spoke at a public information meeting held in Detroit Wednesday. 

"Although I can't commit today to when the bridge will be open, we will have that information in September of next year," said Heather Grondin, spokesperson for the Windsor -Detroit Bridge Authority.

Ken Lund / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

In a move that surprised many, the government of Canada this week gave the owners of the Ambassador Bridge permission to build a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

Canada, Ontario, and the city of Windsor have all had a contentious, even cantankerous, relationship with the Moroun family, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

ambassador bridge
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The family that owns the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, got a boost to its plans for a new bridge that will replace the current 87-year-old one.

The Moroun family said the Canadian government has granted approval for this new cable-stayed, six-lane bridge.

Baffled over Canada's bridge decision

Sep 7, 2017
Ambassador Bridge
J. Stephen Conn / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

No matter how bizarre your fantasies, reality is sometimes crazier. Nobody could have written a script for what’s happened in national politics.

Nobody ever thought we’d be in some kind of nuclear standoff with North Korea. And few if any expected the Canadian government would ever grant Matty Moroun permission to build a new bridge next to his old Ambassador Bridge.

Ambassador Bridge
J. Stephen Conn / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

The Canadian government has given final approval for expanding the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The U.S. approved the permit for a new bridge last year.

The Ambassador Bridge
Mike Russell / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Court of Claims has thrown out yet another attempt to stop the Gordie Howe International Bridge from ever getting built.

The lawsuit came from a suite of companies owned by the Moroun family, which also owns the competing Ambassador Bridge.

The family has tried all kinds of legal maneuvers over the past few years to stop the Howe Bridge in its tracks.

Waiting even longer for the Gordie Howe Bridge

Aug 24, 2017
The Ambassador Bridge
Mike Russell / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There was a story two days ago that was almost entirely ignored in America, but which has significant implications for this part of the world. Dave Battagello of the Windsor Star reported that the new Gordie Howe International Bridge will be delayed another full year.

money
khrawlings / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Rick Snyder this week signed off on a set of bills he hopes will help lure some big employers to Michigan. The new law lets employers that meet certain criteria keep some or all of their employees' state income tax.

The Detroit neighborhood of Delray
wikimedia user Notorious4life / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Detroit City Council has approved a set of community benefits for people living near the future site of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Detroit will pay for the new programs with revenue from selling the state of Michigan land in its southwest Delray neighborhood to make way for the construction of the publicly-funded bridge. 

Matty Moroun, the billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge across the Detroit River, turned 90 earlier this month. I don’t know how he celebrated, but I do know something happened last week that may well have ruined his birthday.

The Detroit neighborhood of Delray
wikimedia user Notorious4life / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The city of Detroit will get $48 million in a deal with the state related to construction of a new bridge to Canada.

The city is selling the state land in the Delray neighborhood, where the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be built.

Mayor Mike Duggan wants the money to go to a neighborhood improvement fund, job training for city residents, and air and health monitoring in southwest Detroit.

Six years ago, Governor Rick Snyder found a way to conclude a deal with Canada to build a new bridge across the Detroit River, something vitally needed if Michigan’s economy is to prosper in the years ahead.

As of now, we are completely dependent on the almost 90-year-old Ambassador Bridge, which shows clear signs of wearing out, and which wasn’t built for today’s massive tractor-trailers. About $2 billion in trade moves across that bridge every week, mainly heavy industrial components that can’t go through the tunnel.

Can the governor rise to the occasion?

Feb 16, 2017

Nobody can deny that Governor Rick Snyder is an intelligent and hard-working man. He came from very modest circumstances to earn three degrees, including an MBA and a law degree, from the University of Michigan by the time he was 24.

The Ambassador Bridge could have a new neighbor (the Gordie Howe International Bridge) by early 2022.
Michael Carian / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit are suing Governor Snyder and the Michigan Department of Transportation over the proposed new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Former Attorney General Mike Cox is representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit claims only the state legislature is authorized to approve a new international bridge, and since the legislature didn't do so, the agreement between the Snyder administration and Canada (which is paying the entire cost) is illegal.

A spokeswoman for the governor says, "We disagree, and we are proceeding as planned."

The Ambassador Bridge could have a new neighbor (the Gordie Howe International Bridge) by early 2022.
Michael Carian / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There was a story in the Windsor Star recently about delays to the new bridge project between Detroit and Windsor. Anne Jarvis from the Windsor Star joined Stateside after reporting the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority has more-or-less gone from building the Gordie Howe International Bridge to explaining why it isn’t being built yet.

On the Michigan side, Andy Doctoroff is the special project adviser to Governor Rick Snyder and he’s the point person on the Gordie Howe International Bridge. He joined Stateside to give the Michigan side of the story. 

The big question on everyone's mind on both sides of the border is when will this bridge be completed? 

Gary Elrod / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The new international trade crossing between Detroit and Windsor seemed to be making all kinds of progress. In 2015, the Canadian government agreed to pick up Michigan’s share of the Gordie Howe Bridge’s cost, removing a major hurdle to the project’s completion.

While the Canadians were at work building approaches on their side of the Detroit River, Michigan was supposed to be purchasing the necessary property to do the same on the U.S. side.

But somewhere along the way, progress stalled. 

David MacNaughton, Canada’s relatively new ambassador to the United States, came to Detroit yesterday, to speak to an important but too-little known group, CUSBA, or the Canada-United States Business Association. Our relationship with Canada is, by far, the most important one there is for both countries.

Canadians always know that; Americans tend to forget.

Detroit-Windsor is also easily both countries’ most economically important border crossing. The Canadian consulate graciously invited me to lunch with the ambassador, a witty and urbane man who isn’t a typical career diplomat. After serving his nation briefly as a young man, he went on to build his own political PR firm, sold it, and went on to run two more. .

Spacing Magazine / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about a failed attempt to get recreational pot on the ballot this November, a report that the owners of the Ambassador Bridge might soon throw some legal hurdles down river to block construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge, and the latest chapter in the rivalry between Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.


For years, those who know how badly our economy needs a new bridge over the Detroit River have waged an epic battle with Matty Moroun, owner of the aging Ambassador Bridge.

For a long time, Moroun, the 89-year-old-billionaire holder of the 87-year old bridge managed to thwart any attempt to build a new bridge at what is America and Canada’s most economically important border crossing. Billions of dollars in trade cross over it every week.

The Detroit neighborhood of Delray
wikimedia user Notorious4life / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Once it's built, the Gordie Howe International Bridge from Windsor to Detroit will be one of Michigan's most important tools for international trade.

 

It's projected that truck traffic will double from the current 10,000 to some 20,000 trucks each day rumbling through the southwest Detroit neighborhood of Delray.

 

So what's good for Michigan trade – not to mention America's and Canada's trade – is going to be felt deeply by the folks living there.

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