"Longest cable-stayed bridge" in North America nears completion above Detroit River

Bridge between canada and Detroit

The Gordie Howe International Bridge by infrastructure firm AECOM, which will connect USA and Canada over the Detroit River, is set to complete later this month.

Connecting Windsor, Canada, to Detroit, USA, the Gordie Howe International Bridge has been under construction since 2018 and will become the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America when it completes.

A bridge between Detroit and Canada
The deck of the Gordie Howe International Bridge is set to connect in late June

Approximately 85 feet (26 metres) of unbuilt bridge deck remain between US and Canadian side, with each side currently extending over the Detroit River.

Crews will complete one more 49-foot (15 metre) segment on the US side before working on the last section, known as the mid-span closure.

A bridge nearing completion
The cable-stayed bridge stretches over the US and Canada border

“Once connected, the bridge deck spanning the distance between the two iconic towers will measure 0.53 miles making it the longest main span of any cable-stayed bridge in North America and the tenth longest in the world,” said the team.

“It will also be the longest composite steel and concrete bridge deck for any cable-stayed bridge in the world.”

A bridge between Detroit and Canada
It connects Windsor, Canada to Detroit, Michigan

Coordinated by Canadian corporation Windsor–Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) with design lead by AECOM, the cable-stayed bridge was named after Detroit Red Wings hockey player Gordie Howe.

Its towers were designed to “reflect the curvature of a hockey stick in a slap shot”, according to WDBA.

Along with the bridge itself, the completed development will include border inspection facilities on both the US and Canadian sides.

Bridge between canada and Detroit
Two ports of entries will also be completed for the project

It will also include a toll-free “multi-use path” that will run parallel to its traffic lanes to accommodate two-way pedestrian and cyclist traffic.

“The integration of the multi-use path will benefit communities and travellers by supporting active transportation, healthy lifestyles and enhance cross-border tourism while providing sustainable options for reducing the carbon footprint of cross-border traffic,” said the team.

A bridge between Detroit and Canada
They will be the largest between the two countries on either side

The bridge is expected to open to the public in Fall 2025, with “plenty of work” remaining before then including the installation of electrical, fire safety and drainage systems, barriers, signage, lighting, deck paving, and pavement markings.

Work on the bridge began in 2018, after a 2001 study conducted by US and Canadian parties anticipated the need for an additional crossing as the result of increased traffic.

Francis Scott Key Bridge

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Carlo Ratti Associati proposes replacement for collapsed Baltimore bridge

The bridge provides a publically-owned alternative to the nearby privately owned Ambassador Bridge, which is currently “the busiest international crossing in North America”.

“Achieving the bridge deck connection is monumental in the progress on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project,” said WDBA CEO Charl van Niekerk.

“After years of planning and construction, we remain on course to open the bridge in fall 2025, and, with that, create new opportunities for economic growth and prosperity.”

Bridge between canada and Detroit
It provides an alternative traffic and trade route to the nearby Ambassador Bridge

Detroit has seen several urban projects completed recently, including the restoration of a historic train station as part of a Ford campus and several buildings converted into arts centres as part of the Little Village development.

Elsewhere in the two countries, architecture studio Carlo Ratti Associati proposed a replacement cable-stayed design for the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, while Grimshaw Architects completed three bridges in Toronto that link the city to a wetlands regeneration project.

The photography is courtesy of The Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

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