Sunday, March 3, 2024
Gordie Howe International Bridge US Port of Entry Image: GHIB

Gordie Howe Bridge to reduce travel time and border wait times while by-passing municipal roads

Click the red arrow to view video. Source: Gordie Howe International Bridge

New payment options for passenger and commercial accounts will use transponders, prepaid amount accounts, cash, credit and debit cards and the use of a mobile app

The majority of users of the Gordie Howe bridge are expected to be commercial users, Heather Grondin told the Hamilton Transportation Club (HTC) on May 3rd.

Grondin is the vice president of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority and was invited to address the HTC, which has resumed meeting after a two year COVID hiatus.

“An important aspect of the Gordie Howe International Bridge is really thinking about the future users. And we do anticipate that the majority of the users will be commercial,” she told the packed room.

Grondin notes that designers are incorporating a number of features integrated to cater directly to commercial users, with the most up-to-date technology allowing for efficient border processing with intelligent transportation system components.

“This will help to ensure a seamless integration between the bridge the ports of entry and the approach roads or the highway system,” Grondin said.

“We’re looking at ways to make the movement of goods across the border as efficiently as possible. Things like IE manifest programs in recognition IETF intelligent video, and advanced large screen large scale images to further reduce congestion.

“When there are delays for terminal trip and my personal travel traffic is heavy, we will have the capacity to convert passenger lanes to commercial lanes.”

Other design items being considered before the bridge’s 2024 opening include electronic-only lanes dedicated to commercial heavy vehicles for tolling; transponder interoperability; and online fleet account management.

“We are going to be able to handle the transportation of hazardous goods and oversized goods which the current bridge between Windsor and Detroit is not able to handle except Nexus parts, and have a trusted traveler processing center,” Grondin said.

Plans also include dedicated bus processing lanes, and dedicated facilities for those pedestrians and cyclists who will be crossing the bridge.

Grondin also noted that infrastructure has been built to support smart border programs on each side of the border, and that traffic information will be integrated with the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

“Because of the size, how large we’re building the ports of entry, we will also have the ability to integrate new technology as it comes available in the future. So, we’re not landlocked.”

Benefits to commercial users will include reduced travel time and reduced border wait times, and by-passing municipal roads through highway-to-highway connectivity.

“There will be fewer intersections for people to navigate on their way to the crossing, which will be offering convenient and customized payment mechanisms. And there will be single window and manifest programs for more efficient border processing.”

Toll pricing not yet set

“In terms of the toll rate, you get asked all the time, ‘what’s the toll on the new bridge?’ We haven’t set it yet. We will be setting that closer to the opening of the bridge itself, setting it competitively.”

New payment options for passenger and commercial accounts will use transponders, prepaid amount accounts, cash, credit and debit cards and the use of a mobile app.

Philip Fletcher, President of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario and member of the Hamilton Transportation Club, says that the fact that the bridge commission was installed by Canada “makes it even more pertinent to those in transportation on this side of the border.  

“All tolls are collected on the Canadian side, so it is a total turnaround from the Ambassador bridge. The best aspect of the bridge for transport drivers is its direct connection to I-75 heading South.”

The contractual date for the opening of the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor and Detroit is late 2024.