Bridge authority outlines progress on Gordie Howe International Bridge
Published Thursday, September 8, 2016 11:12AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 8, 2016 5:22PM EDT
What once was a field referred to as the dog patch on Windsor's west side, has transformed into what will be the future site of the Canadian Customs plaza of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Last September, Amico Infrastructures Inc. was awarded a $60-million early works project.
One year later, millions of tonnes of dirt has been brought in, 850 kilometres of wick drains installed and utility relocation is well underway. That aspect is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.
Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority CEO Michael Cautillo says this should dispel any myths that there hasn't been any progress on the bridge.
“I think you saw the progress, if you walk away from today, and you still have doubt, perhaps you didn't see all the progress that's happened on the site,” says Cautillo.
During a media tour on Thursday, Cautillo spoke about all the intricate details of the work taking place on the ground, but he shied away from questions about the delayed RFP process, which was set to go public in January and what that could do to the original project deadline of 2020.
"I want to focus in on the work we've done, and that was the intent of the tour today, was to show you exactly what has happened," says Cautillo.
Windsor West MP Brian Masse was on the tour Thursday. He's been calling for a more public and accountable bridge authority.
"It certainly is the big elephant in the room, is what kind of dance is taking place behind closed doors," says Masse.
Masse points at interim chair Dwight Duncan, alleging he's negotiating with Matty Maroun to buy the Ambassador Bridge.
Masse says under Duncan, the WDBA is losing focus of the main goal - building a new bridge.
"The reasons for it lagging behind in the RFP are adding up and I think people are going to continue to wonder what's at play here," says Masse.
On the US side, there has been some speculation that property acquisition was slow moving.
But reps from the governor’s office were on hand to, "do away with that false impression."
"Michigan land acquisition process is where we expected it to be, where we projected it to be, and where we represented it to be," says Andy Doctoroff , a special advisor to the governor.
To date, Michigan has obtained half of the 673 parcels required to start bridge-work.
Doctoroff sang the praises of work done by the bridge authority and has no doubt in the Canadian government's commitment to the project.
CTV’s Rich Garton was on the media tour of the site: