Nov 24, 2022
By Roger Renaud
I sail on Lake St Clair. Michigan is on one side of the lake, and Ontario is on the other. My sailboat is winter-stored 23 miles away, downstream on the Detroit River. Similarly, one side of the river is USA, and the other Ontario. Twice a year, for two years now, I have passed this site and watched this massive structure being built. The two giant pillars will be 220m tall when finished. The construction process is called a “continuous pour”, where a layer of concrete is not allowed to dry before the next is poured on top.
The Gordie Howe Bridge project includes a six-lane cable-stayed bridge, inspection plazas on both sides of the border and new three-kilometre link in Detroit to the I-75 freeway. The agreement for the $5.7-billion bridge project between the Canadian government and project’s contractor — a consortium of companies known as ‘Bridging North America’. There is an opening date set at the end of 2024. Canada owns this bridge and is footing the cost to build it, and all the necessary infrastructure.
Prime Minister Steven Harper declared the name of the bridge to be the “Gordie Howe Bridge” because the Windsor/Detroit area is, and has been, Gordie Howe territory.
More than 40,000 commuters, tourists, and truck drivers, carrying $323 million worth of goods pass between Windsor and Detroit every day, about one-quarter of Canadian trade with U.S.
The west end of the 401 highway that runs across Ontario, ends right at the entrance to the new bridge, making the trans-border crossing as efficient as possible. They say that throughout construction, river traffic will not be disrupted.
Born in Windsor, Ontario, Roger moved to Toronto for work in the early 70’s where he sailed a Hobie off Cherry Beach. Eventually joining ABYC, he has owned three different Thunderbirds over the years. The E-22, Laser 28, CC27, CC34, CC99, and Beneteau First 36.7’s were the other larger one-design fleets he sailed in, each for a few years dedicated to a program. He was also involved in a significant three-year program on a Nelson Marek 36, Maggie Kelly, out of RCYC.
Since returning to Windsor, he has been winning locally and in DYRA PHRF divisions.