On June 23rd, the City of Detroit and the Delray Community Advisory Group (CAG) announced that they reached an agreement with the State of Michigan and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) to sell 36 city-owned parcels of land, underground assets, and approximately 8 kilometres of city-owned streets as part of a series of landmark agreements totaling $48 million in development of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
The agreements remain subject to approval by Detroit City Council and other agencies, but thus far, the stakeholders, including community groups that will be impacted by the project, developed four primary agreements for further approvals:
- Transfer of Property Agreement: Detroit and 5 city-related agencies agree to sell all parcels of land and roads in the bridge footprint to Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for approximately $23 million.
- Temporary Jurisdictional Transfer Agreement: Detroit temporarily transfers roads, bridges, and alleys around the bridge footprint to MDOT for the construction period. MDOT agrees to complete a specific road and bridge improvement plans and return those roads, bridges, and alleys to city when bridge project is complete.
- Leases and Services Agreement with the WDBA: WDBA agrees to pay the city $6 million for liaison services provided throughout the project and to pay $4.1 million to rent land from the city and city-related agencies for construction staging and equipment storage during the project.
- The State of Michigan Jobs and Neighborhoods Agreement: The State agrees to fund $8.5 million in job training for Detroit residents and $2.4 million in health and emissions monitoring in Southwest Detroit. The State will also contribute $4.5 million to a Neighborhood Improvement Fund created and administered by the City of Detroit.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan credited the CAG for developing initiatives that will help the Delray community, which will be accommodating the infrastructure development. “This kind of collaborative approach is how we are going to approach every major project that comes into our city,” said Mayor Duggan.
The multi-billion dollar Gordie Howe International Bridge project will create thousands of jobs and provide highway-to-highway connectivity between Highway 401 in Windsor, Ontario, and I-75 in Detroit Michigan. The bridge and associated Ports of Entry, once in service, will meet future traffic demands and facilitating the potential for an internationally competitive logistics hub in Detroit.
“Mayor Duggan’s announcement today is the result of several years of successful collaboration between the state, the city, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, and numerous stakeholders, including community leaders,” said the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder. “Everyone listened to one another, worked hard to understand concerns, and forged a partnership based on solutions. This shows that by working together, we can achieve great things for everyone.”
Simone Sagovac of the CAG Group told the CBC, “When the idea of the bridge first came up, residents didn’t want it to happen in Delray.” But, she said, “it became really clear that the most likely location was going to be Delray because it had the most vacant publicly-owned land at the cheapest price.”
The Gordie Howe International Bridge was number 20 on ReNew Canada’s Top 100 Infrastructure Projects for 2017.