Observation Area at Malden Park now open


Progress continues on the Gordie Howe International Bridge, and now there's an opportunity for people to watch the construction progress.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge project team along with the City of Windsor announced the opening of the Malden Park Observation Area on Thursday.

Officials say it's a safe space for the community and tourists to observe construction of the bridge, which is the largest bi-national infrastructure project currently taking place along the Canada-US border.

Located at the highest elevation point in Malden Park, the observation area includes railings, benches, binoculars, landscaping and wayfinding signage.

The area also provides a clear vantage point of the project as the bridge deck construction moves across the Detroit River.

The observation area is part of the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan, which includes the $20 million Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy. 

Officials say the initiatives in the strategy reflect key regional priorities identified through stakeholder and community consultation, which include community partnerships, community safety and connections, economic benefits, and aesthetics and landscaping

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority CEO Charl van Niekerk says with the overall project progressing, this is something the community was asking for.

"Our entire Community Plan is driven by the community. We receive requests for different initiatives, and then we select from the residents preferences of what they want us to build. It's generally on track, I mean look any construction project you've got some ups and downs, but we're very happy with the progress being made to complete this job for us," he said.

van Niekerk says it's not often that there's an opportunity for a construction project to be viewed in this way.

"If I tell you the number of people we find next to the site trying to see a view of the construction progressing. This an ideal spot for people to enjoy the view and see how we're building the bridge. You'll see the bridge connecting by the summer of next year, I think everybody is anticipating that, and just seeing how the bridge evolves over time."

Mayor Drew Dilkens says it's really impressive to see what's been constructed.

"It really is a testament to the work that the WDBA and BNA are doing to build this wonderful connection between Canada and the United States," he continued. "And this is one of the largest infrastructure projects happening in our backyard, and now the people in the City of Windsor will have a chance to have the best view of this project happening, this once in a lifetime project, right in their backyard up here in Malden Park."

Dilkens says the WDBA and BNA have built something that will give people an opportunity to see the project come together.

"And so they benefit because something special has been created here for them. It's more than just walking up the hill, you can actually sit here and you get a whole different feeling with the equipment that's been installed. The binocular equipment that's all free for the public to enjoy, so it's an amazing opportunity for the public to come out. And I'm sure once these media stories get out there will be 100 people here on the weekend looking at this wonderful spot."

Construction of the observation area was managed by Bridging North America and their subcontractor, Landscape Effects, in coordination with the City of Windsor. 

Work began on September 5 and took seven weeks to complete. 

The observation area will remain a permanent amenity at Malden Park, and will be maintained by the City moving forward.


(Photo taken by AM800's Rob Hindi)

- with files from AM800's Rob Hindi