Despite slower progress than hoped for due to COVID protection measures, completion for the Gordie Howe International Bridge is on schedule for late 2024.
Safety measures for workers include daily screening for virus symptoms, the wearing of face masks and physical distancing, said Bryce Phillips, chief executive of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.
“It’s been almost three months dealing with COVID-19 and we are working to understand the impacts and how can we mitigate those impacts,” said Phillips during an on-line update of progress this month. “The reason why we are still showing the end of 2024 [as completion] is because that is four years away and there is still a lot of opportunity…to mitigate against what’s happened with COVID-19.”
Phillips, however, acknowledged that challenges remain for continuing to work simultaneously on the project’s four components – the bridge, the Canadian and US ports of entry and the bridge’s Michigan Interchange.
The 2.5km-long six-lane bridge will have a cycle and pedestrian path.
Final design of the bridge is being reviewed by international experts, said Aaron Epstein, chief executive of Bridging North America, the consortium that won the $5.7 billion fixed-priced public-private partnership deal in 2018. It includes design-build, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation.
BNA include ACS Infrastructure Canada, Dragados Canada, Fluor Canada, Aecon, Aecom, RBC Dominion Securities, Carlos Fernandez Casado and FHECOR Ingenieros Consultores, Moriyama & Teshima and Smith-Miller+Hawkinson Architects.
Ongoing work includes the placing of around 150,000 wick drains. Bridge footing are finished and tower footings are under construction and “will be seen above ground later this year”, said Epstein.
A 4km perimeter access road around the Canadian port of entry is ready and hydro transmission lines are undergoing testing.
The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is a not-for-profit Canadian corporation created to deliver the Gordie Howe Bridge through a public-private partnership. WDBA is responsible for overseeing and managing the construction and operation of the crossing.
Michigan state’s department of transportation is working with WDBA on the US components of the bridge project.
The bridge is named after Canadian professional ice hockey player Gordie Howe, who spent years playing for the US team Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.