Gordie Howe Bridge on Schedule Despite COVID Challenges

AM800-News-Gordie-Howe-Bridge

Despite the challenges of building a new border crossing between Windsor and Detroit during a global pandemic, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority says the project remains on schedule.

The comments were made while the bridge authority announced $100,000 in funding as part of its Community Benefits Plan to support nine projects in Windsor and Detroit.

"There have been some productivity impacts, still too early to tell with regards to the overall schedule, but we are still on schedule for the end of 2024 for the completion date," says Aaron Epstein, Bridging North America CEO.

Officials admit the last few months have been challenging for the $5.7-billion Gordie Howe International Bridge project but the design phase is progressing and nearing completion, as well as prep work for the port of entries on both sides of the border continues.

On the Canadian side, 103,000 wick drains have been installed and 650,000 metric tonnes of engineered fill has been placed at the site.

Several precautionary measures have taken place on site to protect the crew from COVID-19 including physical distancing and masks.

"You think about what we are doing here and the complexity of the project to begin with and now we are doing it all through a pandemic that really nobody alive today has any experience on and with the credit of BNA [Bridging North America,] they have had spot checks by the Ministry of Labour and they always come out with two thumbs up," says Bryce Phillips, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority CEO.

As for the Community Benefits Plan projects, six are in Windsor. Vice President of Communications Heather Grondin says 60 submissions were entered for this round of funding.

"In working with our local community group, what really resonated with the successful applications included the number of people who will be positively impacted by the initiatives that will be carried out," she says.

Groups will receive the funding next month and the projects should be implemented by December 2021.

Some west end projects include the Sandwich First Baptist Church getting $20,000 for an Underground Railroad Freedom Museum, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Friends of Court, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ERCA and the Les Amis Duff-Baby Mansion.

More funding will be delivered through to 2025.