Gordie Howe International Bridge Info Session Focused On Community Involvement

Another public information session is in the books for the $5.7-billion Gordie Howe International Bridge Project.

A small group of residents attended the session at Makenzie Hall in Sandwich Town raising questions centred on employment opportunities and community benefits Tuesday night.

Representatives from the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority and Bridging North America laid out $12-million in plans for Sandwich Town's streets ranging from road improvements and streetscaping to accessibility. 

One key to the discussion is the clear separation of the improvement plan from other budget items, according to Community Benefits Coalition volunteer Mike Cardinal.

"Sandwich has already got that structure, so we can beef it up and encourage the redevelopment of this area and bring it along just like Walkerville has come a long way as a walkable city enterprise," says the local business owner, who added it will be the push the area needs.

With even more truck traffic on the way, Cardinal says there are still some shortcomings when it comes to pollution monitoring.

"We need that monitored much more than Environment Canada's doing already. Pollution issues, for example, from Zug Island that could also be monitored, as well as downwind from our current bridge," says Cardinal.

He praised the open discussion with project organizers that is "the polar opposite" of dealing with the Ambassador Bridge Company — pointing to the demolition of homes on Indian Rd. with little to no public consultation.

Bridging North America's Jamie Breme says, with a 30-year commitment ahead, they’re not just building a bridge, they’re joining the community.

"We know that the community's going to be impacted once we really dig into the construction, but we're going to do our best to minimize those impacts and make sure we communicate with them in advance," she says. “We’re really looking forward to understanding what their priorities are, understanding what needs to be preserved and highlighted."

The Gordie Howe International Bridge is expected to open to traffic in 2024.

Anyone who can't make it to public meetings can view plans and give input though the WDBA website.