Detroit bridge to 'enhance community connectivity and mobility'

Gordie Howe International Bridge will link trail systems between Canada and the US
Charging, Tolling & Road Pricing / February 23, 2024
By David Arminas
Detroit Michigan bridge trail connectivity © Conrado Arellano |
The Ambassador Bridge currently connects Detroit and Windsor - but the new link will come in September 2025 (© Conrado Arellano |

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDoT) has said that a new river crossing will improve connectivity for residents of the US state.

When open, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will link the Trans Canada Trail with similar US trails, becoming North America’s first bridge to do so.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, which will own the new bridge when it opens in September 2025, called the connection of the trails a “first-of-its-kind partnership”. 

“Enhancing community connectivity and mobility opportunities for all users are among our highest priorities at MDoT,” said Bradley Wieferich, director of the department. “This connection between trails across Canada and Michigan is another way the Gordie Howe International Bridge will provide economic and quality of life benefits for generations to come.”

The bridge, named after a Canadian hockey player who played most of his career in Detroit, will connect the Canadian city of Windsor’s Great Lakes Waterfront Trail to the Iron Belle Trail and Great Lakes Way in Detroit, in the US state of Michigan.

It will be the first international bridge border crossing within Canada’s coast-to-coast 28,000km trail network. Trail users will be able to cross the bridge and make the official border crossing via a multi-use path.

Under construction: the Gordie Howe International Bridge (© Ray Akey |

“The Gordie Howe International Bridge is more than a physical connection,” said Charl van Niekerk, chief executive of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. “It symbolises a shared commitment for sustainable infrastructure to promote economic development, active transportation, tourism and cultural exchange.”

To support the move, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is undertaking public consultation until April to help inform future operational plans for the multi-use path.

“As part of the Trans Canada Trail network, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be a catalyst for recreation, active transportation opportunities, tourism and economic development in both border communities and beyond,” said Eleanor McMahon, chief executive of Trans Canada Trail.

The Trans Canada Trail is reportedly the longest recreational trail in the world, connecting 15,000 rural and urban communities across every Canadian province and territory. It is a registered charity and work with local partner to build and maintain sections of the trail. Funding comes from the Canadian federal government through Parks Canada and investment from all levels of government and private donors.

Early work for the bridge started in summer 2018 and when completed, it will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America. The longest span stretches 853m completely over the river and clearance above water will be 42m. The Canadian government will receive all toll revenues, the project being totally Canadian with no US funding.

The bridge was originally set to open in November 2024, but disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed back the date and increased costs. The international border crossing will now cost US$4.72 billion, up from around $4.3 billion and is expected to be open in September, a delay of around 10 months.

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is a not-for-profit Canadian Crown corporation created to deliver the Gordie Howe International Bridge project through a public-private partnership. WDBA is responsible for overseeing and managing the construction and operation of the new crossing.

Meanwhile, Bridging North America, BNA, is the main joint venture contractor - Fluor, ACS Infrastructure Canada and Aecon Group - for the design, build, finance, operate and maintain the project.

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