The president and CEO of the crown corporation overseeing the delivery of the Gordie Howe International Bridge says the project “will literally change the Windsor-Essex and Detroit landscape.”
Speaking at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting Friday, Michael Cautillo of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority said the new crossing will create jobs both during and after the construction phase.
“The project is going to create jobs during the four-year construction period and many long-term jobs will be created during the operations phase,” said Cautillo. “There will be new opportunities for businesses that will supply goods, materials and services for the project.”
Although a design for the bridge has not been finalized, Cautillo said its main towers will be as high as 250 metres or roughly the height of the GM Renaissance Centre in Detroit.
The space between the bridge deck and the Detroit River will be about 50 metres, which Cautillo said is half the height of Caesars Windsor.
It will have an 850 metre span, taking about 500,000 tonnes of concrete, 22,000 tonnes of steel and up to 5,000 tonnes of bridge cables to build, he said.
The “early works” phase of the project has begun with Amico Infrastructures awarded the contract. This part of the project is about preparing the Canadian side of the border for the project.
The actual company building the bridge will be announced by the end of 2016, Cautillo said. The bridge authority received six separate bids from consortiums during request for qualifications period. Up to three of those companies will move to the request for proposal stage.
Cautillo said they will be judged on qualifications to carry out the project and experience with securing local resourcing. The construction will take four years after the private sector partner is chosen, he said.
Matt Marchand, chamber president and CEO, said the bridge is an opportunity to “build our business community out.
“There’s just lots of great things associated with it, so many little things that he (Cautillo) was talking about, whether it’s cable, construction, steel, ongoing operations,” said Marchand. “It’s a good economic opportunity for us, not just the construction phase, but the ongoing phase.”
Following his speech, Cautillo would not directly address how the resignation of WDBA chair Mark McQueen, effective Dec. 31, would affect the project.
“I can say that there’s been no change at the board and that I’m focused on getting the bridge built and getting it up and running and bringing jobs to the area,” he said.
Cautillo said the “momentum is continuing” on the project after the recent change from a Conservative to Liberal federal government.
“We had said we were going to do a number of things, including the early works, including the issuance of the request for qualifications,” he said. “We’re on target for what we had planned and the momentum is strong and is continuous.”