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Gordie Howe bridge deck nearly connected in the middle


If you’ve looked up at the Gordie Howe International Bridge lately, you’ll have noticed the gap between the two sides is shrinking, seemingly by the day.

And in just a few weeks the bridge over the Detroit River will connect in the middle, marking a major milestone for the project.

“I think everyone who's working on this project is excited about the progress being made and is really inspired by how close we're coming to get this done,” said Heather Grondin, the director of relations for the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority.

Bridge deck construction began in December of 2022.The bridge deck nears completion on the Gordie Howe International Bridge in Windsor, Ont., on May 14, 2024. (Rich Garton/CTV News Windsor)

Since then, 27 individual 15-metre segments have sprouted from each side towards the middle.

Now, just two segments remain before the bridge deck connects in the middle, with just 26 metres of gap to close — about the width of hockey rink.

By the end of June, crews will install the final piece — what’s called a mid-span closure, which is an 11-metre pre-fabricated section.

“We’ll do the final adjustments and will actually jack the Canadian side of the bridge a little farther away to make room, but we'll make final measurements for the precise cutting of those those closer section girders,” said David Henderson, the CEO of project contractor, Bridging North America.

During a tour of the bridge deck Tuesday, Henderson indicated engineers have had controls in place since the minute the tower pylons came out of the ground to ensure proper bridge alignment.

“The bridge engineers and construction managers have told me that it's been within 100 millimetres or so, 100 to 150 millimetres, as far as alignment,” said Henderson. “They they wanted to be on target.”

Workers are also excited for the big milestone.

Manuel Bello, originally from Venezuela, has never worked on a project of this magnitude.

“It's amazing. It's what we work for. Right?” said Bello. “So you see it. Now every two weeks we get closer to the other side. It's really good.”

The original completion date of November 2024 was pushed back, in large part due to pandemic-related supply chain issues, according to Henderson, who said the bridge is now expected to open in the summer or fall of 2025.

“And then we have been we have a lot of work after the closure actually takes place,” Henderson said. “We have to stitch the joints, we have to pre post tension, the deck transversely and longitudinally. And then there's an overlay and railings and lights and a lot of other features that go on the bridge afterwards.”

Workers will also have to stress the stay cables, install electrical, fire suppression and drainage systems, signage, complete deck paving, pavement markings and the multi-use path.

Work also continues on both ports of entry, the Michigan interchange and community benefits projects on both sides of the border.

“And you can see the end result,” said Henderson. This is a wonderful transformative project, not just at the moment it will be an iconic landmark for our community from now on.”

While this project is nearing completion, but it hasn’t been quick or painless.

Since the project was first identified as a priority, it’s been 24 years of political wrangling, planning, government funding, designing and building the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Heather Grondin has been intimately involved over the past two decades and notes 11,000 workers have been trained on the project, contributing a combined 13-million incident-free hours of labour.

“I feel in many ways an opportunity for me to represent and be able to celebrate with all those people who have contributed over the 24 years that this project has been underway,” said Grondin. “It's significantly rewarding.” Top Stories

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