DALLAS -- The Detroit city council on Tuesday signed off on a $48 million deal paving the way for the sale of city-owned land and streets in the pathway of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

The deal also provides support to residents living near the Delray neighborhood where the bridge will be located.

Conceptual illustration of Gordie Howe International Bridge
Detroit will sell 36 city-owned parcels of land, needed for the Gordie Howe bridge project. Courtesy of Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

“The funding relates to activities in advance of the P3 partner coming on board,” said Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority director of communications Mark Butler. “As a normal course of business, WDBA, either directly or through the Michigan Department of Transportation, is providing funds to Detroit for property, assets and services. The city in turn, is using those funds to purchase or swap homes outside of the project footprint, job training etc.”

The bridge authority, a Canadian Crown corporation, will manage the Public-Private Partnership procurement process. WDBA is also responsible for project oversight including the actual construction and operation of the new crossing.

Canadian taxpayers will be fronting the money to pay for the deal under an arrangement with Michigan’s state government. There will be no cost or financial liability to Michigan or to Michigan taxpayers as a result of the state’s participation with this project, during the construction or once the crossing is operational. Canada plans to recoup its money through tolls after the bridge is constructed.

Detroit will sell 36 city-owned parcels of land, underground assets and approximately 5 miles of city owned streets needed for the bridge project. That land has been turned over to the State of Michigan, but Canada is providing the funds. The deal also provides $10 million for a training initiative to prepare workers for both bridge construction and other related jobs.

Another $2.4 million will be spent over the next 10 years to monitor the air quality and health of residents in a community known as Michigan’s most polluted due to industries in the area, including U.S. Steel on Zug Island.

The bridge authority is expected to select a contractor for the project at the end of this year and construction will begin sometime in 2018. In addition to designing and constructing the bridge, the winning group will also maintain it for 30 years.

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