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Aecon celebrates historic accomplishment on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project connecting the bridge deck between Canada and the U.S.

Jul 9, 2024

Toronto, Ontario – July 9, 2024: Driven by a monumental effort from thousands of workers over the past few years, the Gordie Howe International Bridge deck between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan is now connected. After completing the installation of the final two permanent edge girders, the accomplishment was marked by a customary topping out ceremony with ironworkers and operating engineers – celebrating the historic connection with a handshake between the two nations’ union locals.

Aecon is proud to be the Canadian constructor for the project’s Bridging North America partnership, working with Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) to design, build, operate, and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. The Windsor-Detroit border crossing is the busiest land border crossing in North America, and once complete, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be the longest cable stayed bridge in North America.

“Building the bridge deck segment by segment is a marathon of construction cycles and is very intensive,” said Aecon’s Jaime Castro-Maier, Lead Engineer for the Canadian bridge deck construction team. “At the final point, we were within a few millimetres of where we were expecting to be,” added Castro-Maier. “If you look at the magnitude of this construction site and the size of the bridge deck – to talk about millimetres was very rewarding and I’m proud of the significant role Aecon played.”

“Aecon is playing a crucial role on this project, and this is a huge achievement,” said Aecon’s Ozi Noel Jr., Cable Stay Engineer.  “We are now part of a select group that has installed the longest stay cables on the continent. We have a very dedicated team that constantly pushes to achieve our goals and overcome challenges.”

Construction of the bridge deck began in December 2022 in two separate parts, extending towards each other from opposite banks of the Detroit River. In recent months, the two sides have been inching closer to each other. By the end of May, the last concrete slabs for the Canadian and U.S. sides had been put in place, and the remaining distance to connect the 2.5-kilometre-long bridge deck had shrunk to a mere 11 metres.

What followed was a meticulous effort by ironworkers and operating engineers to install the final segment known as a mid-span closure. The mid-span closure was custom built, with the installation process taking approximately four-to-six weeks and multiple steps.

While the bridge deck connection is now complete, there is still work to be done. The project team is now focused on the re-stressing of stay cables, post-tensioning of the deck, the installation of electrical systems, fire suppressions and drainage systems, and other essential work such as road barriers, signage, lighting, deck paving, and completing the multi-use pedestrian and bicycle path. This work will take place concurrently with the completion of other facilities including the 130-acre Canadian Port of Entry and the 167-acre U.S. Port of Entry to create the first new border crossing between Canada and the U.S. in more than 60 years.

“This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the project team and the experience that Aecon brings to deliver this once-in-a-generation bi-lateral project,” said Thomas Clochard, Executive Vice President, Civil and Nuclear, Aecon. “We’re proud to have played a significant role as the Canadian constructor and we look forward to building on this momentum to complete the remainder of the project working with our client and partners.”

The project has also previously been recognized with the Envision Platinum award – the highest distinction granted by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure – and includes a robust community benefits program to advance economic, social and environmental conditions for local communities. 

For more information on the project, visit the project website.

For further information:

Nicole Court
Vice President, Corporate Affairs