Detroit-Windsor bridge approval cheered in Canada, US

Governor Snyder announcing the presidential permit for the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor. Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Labour Minister is at left.

The news that President Obama has given a presidential permit for the construction of a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit has been applauded on both sides of the border. The permit was announced by Michigan governor Rick Snyder on Friday. The Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA). welcomed the announcement of the ‘New International Trade Crossing,” saying that its approval clears the path for completion of the new bridge in the Windsor-Detroit gateway.

Referring to the “highly integrated automotive industry” in North America, where products are built “seamlessly” on both sides of the border, the CVMA says that the NITC will provide the needed additional international infrastructure capacity at the Windsor-Detroit gateway, a critical trade corridor of the auto industry’s supply chain.

“With the approval of the Presidential Permit, the NITC is on the road to completion and needs to proceed without delay,” said Mark Nantais, President of the CVMA. “A state of the art, highly efficient, effective and reliable new crossing with improved flow of goods is essential to maintaining our competitive place in global markets.”

In Michigan, officials say that job creation in the Detroit region depends on the building of the bridge which will make it possible to attract companies involved in international trade, as well as to capture business that now goes through Chicago. The short-term stimulus of construction jobs associated with the bridge is also important to Michigan. The Detroit Free Press says that the project will “probably” have “tens of thousands of people working on it.”

The bridge is expected to cost $1-billion with about another equal amount to be spent on feeder roads and plazas on the Detroit side. The six-lane bridge will provide an alternative crossing of the Detroit River for shippers and for the general public. At present, drivers can cross via the Ambassador Bridge or the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. Almost one-third of all ground trade between Canada and the US crosses at the Ambassador Bridge, which was built in 1929.

Barring unforeseen delays, the new bridge could  be ready by 2020.

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