Statement addresses speculation over Gordie Howe bridge

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) has released a statement addressing recent speculation that has appeared in media reports. The statement, from WDBA president and CEO Michael Cautillo, attempts to set the record straight over recent reports on the project.

Here is the the full statement that has been released:

“The Gordie Howe International Bridge project is the largest and most ambitious trade infrastructure project along the Canada-United States border. The bridge will encourage new investment between Canada and the United States. It will also help to maintain and create thousands of jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border.

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) is leading the procurement process to choose a private-sector partner with the skills, experiences and resources necessary to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. This is an unprecedented and complicated project with many moving parts.

There have been recent media reports that suggested that:

1. Completion of the bridge has been pushed back to 2023.

In fact, construction schedule is part of the proposals that will be submitted by our Proponents and we will hear from the Proponents how they intend to deliver this project on an aggressive and prudent schedule.

2. A private-sector partner was to be selected by the end of this year.

In fact, since issuing the Request for Proposals in fall 2016, WDBA has been clear that the private-sector partner would be announced in 2018.

3. Community benefits announced by the City of Detroit need to be accommodated into the project requirements.

In fact, the job training, health monitoring and neighbourhood improvements announced by the City of Detroit are being delivered by the City of Detroit and are not part of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project and do not impact the project schedule.

4. The inclusion of a multi-use path on the bridge is causing project delays.

In fact, WDBA announced the incorporation of a multi-use path on the Gordie Howe International Bridge almost six months ago to ensure the Proponents had time to incorporate this design element into their proposals.

5. The procurement timeline will now not see a private-sector partner identified until many months into 2019, with construction starting later in 2019.

In fact, and importantly, construction on the Gordie Howe International Bridge will start in 2018.

We are in constant dialogue with the Proponents to understand their needs as they complete their proposals. The timetable for our Proponents to submit information is being reviewed, which is not unusual for a construction project of this scale. This will ensure that the procurement process will yield the best possible proposals without compromising our commitment to begin significant construction of the bridge in 2018.

We are undertaking all possible activities to enable our private-sector partner to begin work as quickly as possible. WDBA and our partners have already made significant progress on the project with approximately $200 million invested in preparatory construction activities on the site of the Canadian Port of Entry and over 70 per cent of required property for the US Port of Entry is under the Michigan Department of Transportation’s control. This is another sign of WDBA’s unwavering commitment to delivering this project now.

WDBA recognizes the strong interest that our stakeholders and communities on both sides of the border have in this historic project and we are committed to keeping the public informed of our progress and project milestones.

WDBA remains committed to having a private-sector partner in place in 2018 and construction starting on the bridge in 2018.”

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