The federal government has approved a new bridge connecting Ontario to Michigan. It will replace the ageing and over-capacity Ambassador bridge that currently links Detroit and Windsor.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau made the announcement yesterday in Ottawa. Detroit International Bridge Company, the group that owns the current 87-year old bridge, will be able to start construction on a new $1 Billion US six-lane span crossing the Detroit River. It will sit alongside the Ambassador Bridge, for a few years, at least.
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DIBC, along with their Canadian subsidiary Canadian Transit Company, have five years to start construction of the new bridge. Once the new bridge is complete, the companies will have five more years to complete the demolition of the old Ambassador Bridge, built in 1929.
This new privately owned bridge will compete with another being built by the feds. The Gordie Howe International Bridge will be paid for entirely by the Canadian government and will connect US I-75 to an extension of Ontario Highway 401. Construction of that bridge is expected to begin next year.
The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest commercial land border crossing between Canada and the US. Approximately 20 percent of all trade between the two countries passes over the bridge on more than 2.5 million trucks every year. Much of that is related to the automotive sector in Michigan and Southern Ontario.