Canadian Consulting Engineer

Blue Water Bridge upgrades announced

March 24, 2009
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Harper Government has announced it will spend over $13 million on improving the Blue Water Bridge near Sarnia i...

The Harper Government has announced it will spend over $13 million on improving the Blue Water Bridge near Sarnia in southwest Ontario. The crossing is the second busiest Canada-U.S. border crossing for trucks, and the fourth busiest in terms of total vehicles, with approximately six million crossings per year.

“Blue Water Bridge is a crucial link in trade between Canada and the United States,” said the Prime Minister in announcing the improvements on March 20. “This cross-border traffic is vital to our export industries – and more important than ever, given the current global economic downturn,” said the Prime Minister. “This project will reduce border congestion, improve trade, and create local jobs.”

Work on the “shovel-ready” project is expected to begin once approvals have been given this May, with completion by December 2010.  There is no word yet as to which engineering companies will be involved.

The plans for the bridge’s improvement include the construction of additional lanes on the approach to the plaza and a truck return road to the United States. There will also be new Canada Border Services Agency inspection booths, additional signage and improved lighting/electrical systems.


The crossing spans the St. Clair River at its narrowest point between Point Edward/Sarnia and Port Huron, Michigan. The original span is a steel cantilever structure, with a total length of 6,392 feet, and centre span of 1,523 feet. Built in 1938 (its construction was delayed during the Depression of the 1920s), the bridge was designed by Modjeski & Masters, and Monsarrat & Pratley.

In 1997 a new three-lane bridge span was constructed beside the original bridge and the original bridge had its deck rehabilitated, resulting in three lanes in both directions. The bridge links Highway 402in Ontario with I-94 in Michigan, providing onward routes to Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis.

The bridge is now operated by the Blue Water Bridge Corporation, a crown agency.


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