DETROIT (John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press) - Gov. Rick Snyder achieved one of his top priorities in mid-2012
when he signed a deal with Canada to build a new bridge between Detroit
and Windsor, a project known as the New International Trade
But the motoring public needs to be patient. Huge infrastructure projects like this don't happen overnight.
documents reveal that building the NITC could take as long as seven
years, from early approvals to final ribbon-cutting. That means that the
new bridge would open to traffic around 2020. In their public
statements, the U.S. and Canadian project teams have called a seven-year
schedule "aggressive but achievable."
"We acknowledge that our
estimated timeline of opening the NITC to traffic in 2020 is ambitious,"
said Jeff Cranson, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of
Transportation. "But that's because it is so vital to the economy of the
state, the region and our two nations."
At least one observer
says that Canada, which is in charge of building as well as paying for
the bridge, will easily beat the official seven-year schedule. Gregg
Ward, vice president of the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, which carries hazardous materials across the river, said
Canadian officials have the drive, determination and money to complete
the high-priority project ahead of time.
"I think people fail to
understand that Canada will be in charge of the delivery of this
project, and their motivation is huge to get it done and for it to be
operational," Ward said.
The key event that will start the clock
is the issuance of a Presidential Permit by the U.S. government, which
NITC proponents say they expect to get fairly soon, certainly in early
If that comes through, here's a rundown of what to expect
over the next seven years according to what government officials have
said in public documents.
Year 1: With Presidential Permit
in hand, Snyder and Canadian authorities must finalize their contract to
flesh out the Crossing Agreement signed last June. Canadian authorities
will hire people for their Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority, the entity
that will do the work. A contractor or team of contractors will be
chosen in competitive bid to do the work.
Don't expect much actual
construction in Year 1, although crews may begin to relocate utilities
at the construction site. Authorities will begin to buy the property
needed for the bridge approaches and customs plazas. Preliminary design
survey work begins.
Year 2: Authorities will complete land acquisition for the span. Utility relocation continues. Design work for the service
drives, ramps, etc. continues. Some early construction may begin if all
the necessary right-of-way parcels are acquired.
Year 3: There's lots of work on the approaches in Year 3, including both design work and some construction.
Year 4: Architects
and engineers complete their design for the main span. Construction of
the main bridge segments begins. Authorities complete their final land
acquisition. Contractors complete their cleanup of contaminated soil, if
any, found on the site. Crews begin building the service drives.
Year 5: Construction continues on the main span and begins on the toll and inspection plazas.
Year 6: Construction continues on the main span and on the toll and inspection plazas.
Year 7: Contractors
complete the main span, the plazas, local street improvements and the
interchange ramps that connect the bridge to nearby freeways. When all
is finished, the new bridge opens to traffic.
MDOT's Cranson said the public can expect to be using the bridge by 2020.
are confident because the private sector, which will build this bridge,
has demonstrated time and time again an amazing ability to come up with
innovations and new technologies to exceed our expectations," he said.
Contact John Gallagher: 313-222-5173 or firstname.lastname@example.org