gordie howe bridge

Ontario's border is about get the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America

Crossing one of Canada's busy international borders between Ontario and Michigan can be a real headache. The Ambassador Bridge is frequently clogged with truck traffic (most of the time legally), and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is no picnic either. The lack of a direct connection with Highway 401 isn't helping either of these Detroit-Windsor crossings.

That's all soon to change as construction advances for the massive Gordie Howe International Bridge project, an enormous new crossing that will make international road travel between Ontario and Michigan a whole lot easier. However, not everyone was pleased with this large infrastructure project.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge will be unlike any that exists in the country today. The 2.5-kilometre-long, six-lane bridge supported by towers of 140 metres on each side of the Detroit River is comparable in height to 40-storey residential buildings.

gordie howe bridge

Rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

It will support a clear span of 853 metres, the longest main span of any cable-stayed bridge on the continent.

gordie howe bridge

View from the U.S. side showing the topped-out support towers.

It faced stiff resistance during its planning stages, but surprisingly, this wasn't based on the bridge's massive size. The project's fiercest opponent was billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun (1927-2020), who spent the final years of his life fighting the Gordie Howe International Bridge's approval.

Moroun just so happened to be the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, where trucks are currently forced to cross.

gordie howe bridge

Facing along the path of the future road deck from the U.S. side towards Canada.

The new bridge's improved infrastructure and direct links to Highway 401 on the Canadian side and I-75 on the U.S. side mean shorter trips for truckers and less money generated by the Ambassador Bridge.

Despite opposition, the bridge would ultimately begin construction in mid-2018, and Moroun passed away two years into the project's build-out.

gordie howe bridge

Piers to support the six lanes of road, three in each direction, crossing the bridge.

The Government of Canada will be footing the project cost of $4.415 billion and the design-build contract of $2.68 billion entirely, though all tax revenues from tolls collected at the bridge will be paid to Canada for 50 years after construction is completed.

Once the massive bridge is completed, expected in 2024, it will stand among the top five longest bridges in North America.

While it will be a boon to truckers looking to shave time off their routes, the bridge will also be accessible to foot traffic and cyclists through a dedicated multi-use path.

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Gordie Howe International Bridge

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