VIDEO: Gordie Howe Bridge Construction Underway
Work has officially begun on the $5.7-billion Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and dignitaries from both sides of the border gathered at the Canadian Port of Entry in Windsor Friday morning to mark the official start of construction.
Trudeau called it the largest and most ambitious infrastructure project along the Canada-United States border that will connect the 401 to Michigan's Interstate 75.
"Named after a Canadian legend and an honourary son of Detroit, this bridge is a vital 2.5km artery that will connect Windsor and Detroit and allow for an increased flow of people and goods between Canada and the United States," says Trudeau.
Briding North America says the 853-metre span between the two towers, with a total length of 2.5km, will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North American and the seventh largest in the world.
It is slated to be completed in 2024, but Prime Minister Trudeau hinted at talks to try and accelerate the timelines.
"Quite frankly, we were talking with the governor about possibilities of actually accelerating the timelines for this bridge and that is very much how we are focused on getting this done as quickly as we can, for the people of Detroit, Windsor and both of our countries." Trudeau said which prompted applause from the crowd.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says this will be a boom to the economies on both sides of the border as it will strengthen the communities of Windsor and Detroit.
"Gordie Howe stood for strength, tenacity and endurance," says Snyder. "He set the benchmark for the hockey world, this bridge will set that benchmark for Canadian-American relationship and for the rest of the world."
The project is expected to create 2,500 jobs over the five-year construction project.
The Windsor-Detroit trade corridor sees about 7,000 trucks crossing the border each day and about 2.5-million trucks each year.
Approximately 25 per cent of all goods traded between Canada and the United States travels across the Windsor-Detroit border.