Gordie Howe bridge RFPs to be progressing 'soon': MacNaughton
Canada's Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton speaks in Detroit, Mich., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (Rich Garton / CTV Windsor)
Published Tuesday, October 11, 2016 4:49PM EDT
Canada's Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton responded to questions about the progress of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project while he was in Detroit today.
MacNaughton is only 10 months on the job, but the who's who of Windsor and Detroit's business and political circles found out today where many of his priorities lie, including the bridge.
“This is the biggest single infrastructure project in Canada. It is extremely important to us," says MacNaughton.
He says has been active on the file since taking office. He even visited the early works site in Windsor this morning.
“I had read about how big it was going to be, but the reality is when you see the scope of it, it's a massive multi-billion dollar project and it’s going to be very complicated," says MacNaughton.
He adds work is also progressing extremely well behind the scenes, with regular meetings in Ottawa to discuss the pending issuance of Request For Proposals from three short-listed bidders. He says Ottawa is 100 per cent on board.
"They're totally committed to it, work is progressing, and I expect the RFP is going to be progressing soon," says MacNaughton.
Just how soon, interim Windsor Detroit bridge authority chair Dwight Duncan wouldn't say.
"All I can say is this thing will be built in a timely fashion,” says Duncan. “It will be an iconic bridge, structure, a credit to both sides of the border and it will do what we need it to do."
Both Duncan and MacNaughton say land acquisition of some 960 properties stateside has been one of the bigger hurdles to date, but they are confident all land will be acquired within the timeline.
Ambassador Bridge Company executive Dan Stamper was also at the lunch. Duncan says he expects many legal challenges still lie ahead, but remains confident a bridge will be built.
"The Government of Canada is gearing up to do whatever it takes to get this done in as timely as fashion as possible," says Duncan.
The RFP document is about 10 months delayed. Though Duncan wouldn't say just when exactly it will come out, sources say it should happen in the next few weeks.