UPDATE: New bridge between U.S. and Canada

By Alex Veeneman on June 15, 2012

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper with President Obama in 2011.
(Photo courtesy of the federal government)

The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed today that there is to be a new bridge connecting Detroit and the city of Windsor, in the province of Ontario.

Harper made the announcement June 15 with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and said this was a step forward. “Our Government is taking the measures necessary to facilitate trade and investment between Canada and the United States in order to generate jobs, economic growth and long term prosperity,” Harper said in a statement before today’s announcement. “This new bridge will reduce congestion at this critical Canada-U.S. border crossing, support the creation of new export related jobs and investment opportunities along the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, increase the competitiveness of the North American manufacturing sector, and provide thousands of construction jobs in Ontario and Michigan.”

Officials are requesting the bridge be completed by 2018, according to a CBC report. However, a spokeswoman for Transport Canada, the governmental agency overseeing the project, told Uloop that a great deal of planning is required. “With this announcement today, the project will be able to move forward in both Michigan and Canada. The requisite planning and due diligence work will be conducted as quickly as possible to ready the project for procurement,” she said. “The Crossing Authority will take full responsibility for conducting the needed planning work and the project procurement through a public-private partnership arrangement in both countries.”

The spokeswoman added the process of construction for the bridge and inspection plazas “will take four to five years”. “Before construction can begin, officials will advance project planning work, including further design, property acquisition and utility relocation,” she said.

The Canadian government and the provincial government in Ontario are funding the project, due to be worth CDN$1 billion (US$977.6 million). The State of Michigan will not be paying for this project, a measure according to the Wall Street Journal that was requested by the opposition for Republican support in Michigan’s state legislature.

Harper said the bridge was a celebration of friendship between Canada and the United States. “For it was 200 years ago this month that the War of 1812, the last armed conflict between our countries, was declared. Indeed, the first shots were fired right here in the Detroit-Windsor region,” Harper said. “It took three years to bring peace back to the Detroit River and when it came, no one thought it would be for long. But it endured. Our two great countries, Canada and the United States, became the best of friends, indeed, arguably the most intimate and successful international friendship in human history.”

Snyder praised the relationship between Canada and the United States. “That’s what friendship is all about; stepping up and helping someone,” Snyder said according to CBC. “A special note of thanks to Canada, for your generosity and thoughtfulness in this project.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The currency conversions are as of 1:45pm CT on June 15th.

This blog post was updated at 5:52pm CT on June 15th to reflect new information.

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