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Major new parkway to U.S. border announced

Three consortia have been shortlisted for what's being called, "The single most significant single highway inv...


Three consortia have been shortlisted for what’s being called, “The single most significant single highway investment the province has made in Ontario’s history.” 

The Windsor-Essex Parkway will be a new access road connecting Highway 401 near Windsor to a new six-lane bridge across the Detroit River.

The new crossing has been on the books for many years as a bi-national effort to ease the tremendous traffic flows between the U.S. and Canada at this point. The Windsor-Detroit corridor is the busiest commercial land border crossing in North America, with 9,000 truck crossings each day. The total bilateral trade crossing at Windsor-Detroit is more than all the trade that exists between the U.S. and Japan.

Over 15 different locations for the new crossing were considered, with the latest proposal being a 6-lane cable stayed bridge just west of the existing Ambassador Bridge. The government has begun to procure the land for a 43-acre inspection plaza north of Broadway Street in Windsor.  

The new parkway will be 11 kilometres long, with much of the six-lane roadway below grade, leaving some 300 acres of green space,  trails and wildlife crossings.  By locating the road below grade, it is intended that truck noise levels will be reduced and air quality conditions in the vicinity improved. There will also be 11 tunnels amounting to 1.8 kilometres, with crossings for trails and wildlife. The road will not be a toll road.

The international consortia shortlisted to submit proposals to design, build, finance and maintain the parkway were announced on October 8. The Rose City Parkway Group includes consulting engineers MMM Group, AECOM and Thurber Engineering. the Windsor-Essex Transportation Partners include Stantec Consulting and Trow Associates. The Windsor Essex Mobility Group includes Dillon Consulting, Fluor Canada, Hatch Mott MacDonald and AMEC Earth and Environmental. SNC-Lavalin is a company “being held in reserve.”

The winning team will be announced in 2010. The $125-million project is expected to create 12,000 jobs.