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The Canadian and American sides of the Gordie Howe International Bridge deck are now just a few metres apart.

Bridge officials, who gave the Windsor Star access to the work site last week to take drone photos and video, expect the gap to close by the end of June. 

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Things appear to be moving fast. During a media tour of the bridge deck on May 14, the gap was 26 metres. By Thursday afternoon, the gap had narrowed to 11 metres.

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On Monday, the bridge builders announced that the final Canadian bridge deck segment had been placed, with the U.S. side working on its last slab. And on Tuesday, the final two of 108 cables — which hold the weight of the bridge —were being installed on the Canadian bridge tower.

So close. The Canadian (left) and American sides of the Gordie Howe International Bridge are shown on Thursday, May 23, 2024, with Michigan’s Detroit River shoreline shown on the right. DAN JANISSE/Windsor Star Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

When the two sides are connected, even though the bridge won’t actually open until 2025, it will officially be an international border crossing.

That means border officers will be stationed there 24/7. The people working on the construction project will also have to go through border checkpoints when they enter and leave the bridge.

An aerial view of the Gordie Howe International Bridge deck under construction, looking from the Canadian side towards the Detroit waterfront, is shown on Thursday, May 23, 2024. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Each side of the bridge has 27 pre-designed segments. They each average about 15 metres long and 37.5 metres wide.  

When the final mid-span piece is installed, the bridge will be 853 metres long, making it the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America. It also has the longest composite steel and composite bridge deck of any cable-stayed bridge in the world. 

Crews were still working on the 27th segment on the U.S. side of the bridge on Thursday.  

When that is finished, they will install temporary bracing pieces that must be in place before work begins on the final segment, known as the mid-span closure. 

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To install the mid-span, crews will use jacks to move the Canadian side of the deck about six inches to create enough clearance. 

The Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Ontario’s Highway 401 to Michigan’s I-75 freeway is shown on Thursday, May 23, 2024. This is the view south, with Windsor on the left and Detroit on the right. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

The middle of the bridge deck will be 46 metres above the water, ensuring plenty of clearance for the Detroit River shipping lane.  

The work to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge began on Oct. 5, 2018. After delays and cost increases brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, construction of the $6.4 billion bridge is expected to be finished by September 2025. 

The first vehicles will likely cross that fall.

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The new international crossing connecting Windsor and Detroit will also accommodate cyclists and pedestrians along a multi-use path that will be part of the Trans Canada Trail system and connect to existing trail networks on the Michigan side.

Starting when the two sides of the massive Gordie Howe International Bridge project are linked up sometime in June, workers on both sides will have to bring their passports and clear border customs to do their work. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star
Two countries are about to meet as construction continues on the multibillion-dollar Gordie Howe International Bridge, shown on Thursday, May 23, 2024. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

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