The Canadian Transit Company has long complained that Transport Canada was dragging its heels on approvals for the project as the federal government pursues its own six-lane worldwide bridge over the Detroit River, just a few kilometres west of the Ambassador Bridge. "We are now tasked with the duty to construct a privately funded bridge with the hard work of thousands of engineers, steel workers, construction experts that will be employed to deliver this once in a lifetime project" said Matthew Moroun, with the bridge company.
But Gov. Rick Snyder, who has worked with Canadian officials to get the Gordie Howe International Bridge on track, said Wednesday that Moroun will now have to go back and obtain further permits from the US government, since the plan now calls for a replacement, rather than a twin span.
"Canada's announcement today also reaffirms the plans for the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which is on schedule to begin significant construction in 2018".
The Detroit International Bridge Co. has obtained a permit to build what will be North America's longest cable-stayed bridge. "However, construction on a replacement span would not begin unless and until further governmental approvals in the US are obtained and several conditions established by Canada are met".
"I'm not too saddened, hopefully the new one is nicer", said resident, Brent Borgart.
Unless there's a major increase in cross-border traffic, both bridges will face challenges collecting enough tolls to pay back the cost of construction of two new spans.
The $1Billion project, of which $500 million has already been spent. "This is exciting times for this region", Stamper said.
"We know there are those who never thought our permit would be approved", Moroun said.
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The $1 billion project will create thousands of jobs in both countries, according to the release.
And the Canadian government later issued its own statement, making clear that the permit came with conditions.
The Gordie Howe bridge's costs include connections to MI and Ontario highways, a $250 million U.S. Customs plaza and assembling 184 acres of land in Delray, some of which Moroun owns.
Last week, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority gave three consortiums of companies about six more months to submit plans for constructing the new bridge. The global bridge authority insists construction of the new bridge will begin sometime in 2018.
The new bridge will have six lanes, and should be finished by the fall of 2020.
Those programs expedite travel time across the global border for frequent drivers by reducing vehicle inspections.
The Ambassador Bridge, built in 1929, is the only stretch of privately owned road in the Highway 401-Interstate 75 highway link between manufacturers based in southern Ontario and some of their largest customers in the United States.