Gordie Howe Bridge may open 2 years past earlier estimates
November 2024 may be the first time vehicles cross the Gordie Howe International Bridge, according to the group selected to build the Detroit-Windsor span. That's two years later than previous estimates given by bridge supporters.
The estimated opening date was included in financial documents filed last week by Bridging North America General Partnership, the consortium of international construction firms selected for the project.
The details are included in a report by credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's as part of the bridge construction group's effort to secure construction bonds.
The report also included an estimated cost to build the bridge: $2.68 billion, which amounts to $3.46 billion in Canadian dollars. Construction could begin as soon as Sept. 29.
The costs and timeline are estimates that could change but the report provides the latest figures attached to the project. The official costs for the project, along with other details, are expected to come later this month through the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority, the agency overseeing the bridge project. The agency is part of the Canadian government.
The cost and construction estimates in the S&P report are from the consortium and not the WDBA, said David Butler, spokesman for the WDBA. "We look forward to announcing all the details of final arrangement once we have financial close in September, including a construction schedule," Butler told the Windsor Star.
Michigan taxpayers are not paying for the project. Canada is paying for the construction and expects to recoup its investment through vehicle tolls. The bridge will be owned by the Canadian government and the state of Michigan.
The Gordie Howe bridge across the Detroit River will be the longest "cable-stayed" bridge in North America at 2,798 feet, A cable-stayed bridge has one or more towers from which cables support the bridge deck. A distinctive feature of such bridges is the cables form a fan-like pattern. The span will connect Detroit and Windsor by linking Interstate 75 and Interstate 96 in Michigan with the new extension of Highway 401 in Ontario.
Six lanes are planned, including a pedestrian and bicycle path.
The S&P report said the Bridging North America group seeks $352 million ($454.5 million Canadian) in medium- and long-term bonds and a $454 million construction loan ($587 million Canadian). But the bulk of the funding will come in the form of "progress payments" from the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.
After the bridge project is completed, WDBA will receive all toll revenues and repay the consortium funds they are financing through bonds to build the bridge. Michigan taxpayers are not paying for the project.
Standard & Poor's assigned a preliminary rating of A- and a stable outlook to $351.5 million in medium and long-term bonds