Gordie Howe International Bridge Marks Five-year Construction Milestone Despite Challenges

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The Gordie Howe International Bridge project authorities are commemorating the fifth year since construction on the state-of-the-art cross-border cable-stayed bridge kick-started.

The 5th of October, 2018, marked the maiden day of on-site construction for this epic project that saw the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and Bridging North America enlist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s help.

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“Time has certainly flown by,” professed Heather Grondin, the WDBA Vice President of Corporate Affairs and External Relations. “It’s hard to fathom that half a decade has passed since we embarked on this construction journey.”

Over the past five years, more than 10,000 individuals have been trained and put to work on this colossal $5.7 billion venture, Grondin revealed. Despite facing daunting challenges such as the prolonged pandemic, the project still aims for completion and operational readiness by the close of 2024.

“We have varied counts of workers across the four project sectors at different periods. Roughly, we maintain an average of some 2,500 individuals tirelessly working on this,” she voiced.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge project, symbolizing its completion half a decade after initial construction, incorporates Canadian and U.S. entry ports along with the bridge itself and the Michigan interchange. Boasting an 853-metre clear span between the twin towers, this structure will rank as North America’s longest cable-stayed bridge—occupying the seventh position globally.

The construction technique currently adopted is an unusual cantilever—the back span is built first, followed by assembly over the river. This wasn’t the initial plan, but has ended up being the method of choice, Grondin elaborated.

Bridge cable installation has crossed the midway point, with a total of 108 cables anticipated for each tower, contributing to its distinctive design. So far, around 60 cables have been affixed on each tower, marking over half the journey completed. The bridge deck, which extends over the river, is approximately one-third complete, as per Grondin’s update.

Officials forecast the Detroit River’s cross-span to be connected by the summer of 2024, with ongoing work on the buildings, canopies, and toll booths at both entry ports.

Evidently, there’s colossal public anticipation surrounding the project’s conclusion. Posing queries ranging from opening day rituals to personal achievements of being the first to cross the bridge, the community exemplifies their enthusiastic approval and active participation in the process.

As the bridge project nears its five-year mark, there exists a palpable sense of being “in the final stretch.” Grondin buoyantly expressed her eagerness to celebrate this landmark achievement, asking, “What’s it going to look like when we cut that ribbon?”

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.