Gordie Howe bridge construction concerns residents

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Resident Randy Owens, left, and Hussein Ibrahim from MDOT, right, discuss impact on Interstate 75 construction.

Detroit — Officials for the Gordie Howe International Bridge said the planned Detroit-Windsor link is on schedule to begin construction in the fall, but the development is raising concerns for surrounding residents.  

About 30 people gathered Thursday at Fort Wayne for a quarterly update on the international bridge construction.

Residents said they worry about truck traffic, congestion, noise and pollution associated with the project.

"We're concerned about how far the (Interstate 75) service drives will be coming into our neighborhood," said Randy Owens, who lives on Springwells. "We've been told the service drive could take out a few homes, and that means our home might stay but it'll be close to noise and construction ... all of their plans could look good on paper, but the people who live here will take the beatings." 

Heather Grondin, WDBA spokeswoman leads meeting on Thursday, July 26 at Fort Wayne

Heather Grondin, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority spokeswoman, said they have plans to build barriers to muffle the sound. 

A 100-foot buffer will be built around U.S. port of entry, she said.

"... We will be saving trees removed during construction," she said. "There will be noise barriers, fencing and lighting positioned in a respectful manner."

The authority has conducted research on air pollution and noise, but "the report's results haven't caused any major changes," officials said.

Property acquisition was a concern among the residents, fearing construction would continue to extend into neighborhoods. 

"I'm renting in Delray now, but I planned to buy a home and buy homes for others in this area, so I came to find out more about how it will impact the neighboring properties," said Daniel Castillo, who works in real estate. "I'm right off Springwells now and didn't grow up far. I don't want to leave."

Officials celebrated the groundbreaking of the international bridge on July 17, saying construction could start as soon as the first week of October. 

The bridge will have six lanes, three U.S.-bound and three Canadian, and span 1.5 miles. There will be a dedicated multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. 

"Once it is complete, it will be the longest main span of any cable bridge in North America," Grondin said. "It will also be the same height as the GM Renaissance Center."

More: Gordie Howe bridge construction could start in October

Some residents who had to move worried Ste. Anne Parish on St. Anne near Lafayette Boulevard would be torn down to make way for the bridge.  

"I was devastated when I found out (she'd lose her home) and now I have to come out of retirement just to afford a new home," said Bonnie Sanders, who lived north of Delray before moving to southwest Detroit. "And I heard my church might also be in the path. (The bridge) isn't worth it."

Residents overlook blueprint plans for the Gordie Howe Bridge at the community meeting on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at Fort Wayne.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_