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'Historic' handshake of Canadian and U.S. ironworkers as Gordie Howe bridge connects

Canadian and U.S. ironworkers shook hands across the border as the Gordie Howe bridge deck between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Source: Gordie Howe International Bridge/X) Canadian and U.S. ironworkers shook hands across the border as the Gordie Howe bridge deck between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Source: Gordie Howe International Bridge/X)
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Canadian and U.S. ironworkers shook hands across the border as the Gordie Howe bridge deck officially becomes an international crossing.

Bridge officials shared the “historic” moment Friday as ironworkers and operating engineers in Canada and the U.S. completed the installation of the final two edge girders for the deck.Canadian and U.S. ironworkers shook hands across the border as the Gordie Howe bridge deck between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Source: Gordie Howe International Bridge/X)

The initial international contact was reached Monday when temporary beams were placed between the two bridge decks over the Detroit River.The Gordie Howe International Bridge is official an international crossing, now that temporary beams have been placed in the middle of the Canada-U.S. bridge. (Source: Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority)

“This is one of the most physically visible milestones in the project,” said David Henderson, the CEO of Bridging North America, the contractor building the bridge.

Henderson said there was a collective sigh of relief as the two sides come together, which is a sight roughly 20 years in the making.

This week, temporary beams were replaced with a permanent beam and within a matter of weeks, the bridge deck be fully connected.

“We'll actually move those units on top of the bridge deck and then we'll actually be able to deliver some of the remaining materials and equipment over the bridge,” Henderson said.

About a year of work remains on the bridge and the surrounding ports of entry, but the finish line is now on the horizon.

Once the deck is complete and barring any setbacks, work on the $6.4 billion bridge will resume, with a completion date scheduled late summer or early fall 2025.

~With files from CTV Windsor’s Rich Garton.

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