DETROIT, MI — The new Gordie Howe International Bridge will include a pedestrian link between Michigan and Canada under a new agreement.
On Sept. 9, officials from Michigan and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding to connect trails on either side of the border to the new bridge over the Detroit River, slated to open by the end of 2024.
The goal is to connect the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail in Ontario to the Iron Belle Trail in Michigan, as well as connect to a proposed land and water trail network being developed in southeast Michigan between Lake Erie , Lake St. Clair and Lake Huron called the Great Lakes Way.
The agreement was signed in Windsor last week by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Trans Canada Trail and the Waterfront Regeneration Trust (WRT) in Ontario.
Officials say the aim is to improve tourism.
“Recently, people have turned to the state’s trails, parks, and waterways like never before in search of space, comfort, and connection,” said Dan Eichinger, director of DNR. “The opportunities offered by this partnership will surely offer an even greater reward for going outside.”
Eichinger was among several officials who spoke at an hour-long ceremony last week that was long on philosophical remarks about connecting people and condolences over the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. , but few details of the lane operation.
According to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), users of the multi-use trails “will be subject to the same cross-border travel requirements as those of a passenger or commercial vehicle.”
Trail users will need a passport, NEXUS card or other acceptable form of identification “and they will be processed by a customs officer accordingly,” said Tara Carson, director of communications for the trail. ‘APWD.
Carson said the design of the bridge was revised in 2017 to include the planned multi-purpose path, a single 12-foot-wide exterior lane with two-way traffic. Separate customs posts will process cyclists and pedestrians. Concrete barriers will separate users of the trail from vehicles.
“This decision was made possible through engagement with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP),” Carson said. “The integration of the multi-use path will benefit communities as it will promote active transportation, healthy lifestyles and improve cycling tourism across the border.
Construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge has progressed significantly since its inauguration in 2018. The tower’s pylons have increased this year and construction of the road deck skeleton, known as the jetty table, is underway. Construction of the aft, side and approach spans and entry point facilities is underway. Construction of the main span is expected to begin next year.
The $5.7 billion international bridge is funded by Canada and will be managed by the WDBA. It was fiercely fought for years by the owner of the Ambassador Bridge. When complete, the bridge will provide uninterrupted traffic flow between US highways and Ontario’s Highway 401.
Once off the bridge, trail users will have access to Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, which stretches over 2,000 miles from Ironwood on the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle State Park in Detroit.
On the Canadian side, the 2,237-mile Great Lakes Waterfront Trail hugs the shores of Lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario, as well as Georgian Bay, and stretches from the St. Lawrence River in Quebec to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
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