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Gordie Howe Bridge between Detroit and Windsor will have bike lane and pedestrian access

The only party opposed to the building of a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor is the businessman who owns the existing Ambassador Bridge. Manual Moroun has been trying to block the new bridge, named for hockey great Gordie Howe, for years, fearing that it will drain his profits. A huge volume of trade crosses between the two countries every day, and Maroun stands to lose a lot of it. The new bridge will have six lanes of traffic, while the Ambassador has just four.

The bridge will be built, though. It has the blessing of no less a trade protectionist than Donald Trump. He and Prime Minister Trudeau mentioned it when Trudeau went to Washington last month, saying they looked forward to its “expeditious completion.” The Canadian government at the time of its being proposed, led by Stephen Harper, was so keen to get it built that they agreed to pay for it, with the intent of recouping costs through tolls. The cost of the bridge is being put at $4.8 billion, though these kinds of massive public works tend to go over budget.

How it could look: the cable-stayed design for the Gordie Howe Bridge.

Now it has been announced the authority overseeing the project has asked the three finalists in the bidding for the bridge to include pedestrian and bike infrastructure on the bridge. There will be some form of dedicated multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians. Bikers and walkers will have to carry the same identification as drivers and will go through the same customs and immigration screening. The inclusion of the bike lane and pedestrian path is said to be in response to public demand.

The Gordie Howe Bridge, with its spirit of cooperation and openness, is symbolic of the very different relations between the current US administration and its two neighbours. While Donald Trump has vowed to move forward with the controversial wall between the US and Mexico, a bridge like the Gordie Howe represents a friendlier, more rational relationship.

A rendering of the traditional suspension bridge design that the Gordie Howe Bridge could take, also seen at the top of this page.

The contract to build the bridge has not even been awarded yet, but it has already won an award for engineering at the Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Montreal. The minister responsible for infrastructure, Amajeet Sohi, said the bridge would take its place among the engineering landmarks of the world.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the bridge will be either a traditional suspension bridge or a newer version known as a cable-stayed bridge with cables fanning out from two massive towers. These could be as tall as 750 feet, making the bridge the tallest structure in the area. The bridge’s length is said to be 3.2 kilometres, including the approaches, making it one of longest bridges in North America.

 

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