The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority has extended the bidding process for construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge by four months.

The authority said Thursday it would accept proposals from companies beginning in May and ending in September 2018.

Officials say this extension should not affect plans to start construction of the bridge in 2018.

The authority says it has already made progress on the bridge with $350 million in ongoing work at the Canadian and U.S. project sites.

“Throughout the procurement process, WDBA will continue to deliver preparatory activities on both sides of the border,” the authority said in a press release. “Doing this work now enables our private-sector partner to begin construction as quickly as possible in 2018.”

The $2.1 billion bridge isn’t expected to be open before 2022. Canada is supplying Michigan’s $550 million share of the bridge, which will have to be repaid through tolls.

The Howe bridge will provide a second highway link for heavy trucks at the busiest U.S.-Canada crossing point, the second span to the aging Ambassador Bridge owned by Manuel “Matty” Moroun.

On Tuesday, a state Court of Claims judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against the state meant to halt construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The legal effort was on behalf of Crown Enterprises Inc. and other companies affiliated with the Moroun family.

Moroun has been fighting the construction of the bridge from Detroit to Canada in both state and federal courts for years. Last year, a federal judge rejected a suit that argued the agreement between Michigan and Canada to build the span over the Detroit River about two miles downstream from Moroun’s bridge was unconstitutionally approved by the U.S. Department of State.

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