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September 21, 2007

Infrastructure

Windsor Construction Association anxious to see a U.S. border crossing plan

‘Get on with it,’ urges Windsor CA leader

The Windsor Construction Association is anxious to see ground broken sooner rather than later on a new international border crossing and related infrastructure.

“Our position is ‘get on with it,’ ” says executive director Jim Lyons. “The economy here is hurting; the industrial sector is laying off people left and right. Jobs and investment are at stake.”

Jim Lyons

Jim Lyons

Lyons’ comments come in the wake of a call by both the Windsor & District Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for the parties to move forward and complete the project in a timely manner.

“We enthusiastically support any option for the new international crossing at Windsor-Detroit that can achieve the timeframe established for the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) process of being operational by 2013,” said Len Crispino, president and CEO of the Ontario chamber.

“We can’t afford any further delays. The new crossing is vitally needed.

“We’re anxious to see this project reach completion so that we may begin to address the congestion at the border that is robbing our economies of jobs and lost production.”

A recommendation is expected to be made next spring on a preferred location for a new bridge spanning the Detroit River.

A key component of the project is an access road linking Highway 401 and the bridge. Since March 2006, the DRIC study team has conducted detailed studies of five alternatives for the six-lane road.

Last month, the team unveiled a green option. The below-grade, six kilometre highway would incorporate 1.5 kilometres of short tunnels, covered with parkland and trails. Costs are estimated at $1.5 billion.

After further study, DRIC hopes to submit its final recommendation on its technically preferred alternative next spring. The city favours a full tunnel, an option that could cost as much as $3.8 billion.

Lyons, whose association represents more than 300 companies working in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors, said no matter which option ultimately is approved, “we’re going to see a lot of manhours. We just want to see them get on with it.”

The river crossing project is being spearheaded by a bi-national partnership that has representation from the governments of Canada and the United States as well as the province of Ontario and state of Michigan.

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