Sale of bridge paves way for heavy truck route into U.S.

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NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – A joint venture between Canadian and U.S. interests has resulted in the purchase of the Niagara River railway bridge, with plans to convert it to a three-lane truck route.

Whirlpool International Truck Bridge (WITB) and its Canadian subsidiary purchased the bridge with plans to make it a three-lane roadway, making cross-border travel more effective for transport trucks.

“Looking ahead five years, we see the day when a dedicated three-lane roadway over the former railway bridge will expedite truck traffic and alleviate growing congestion at this key border crossing,” says William Truesdale, WITB president.

WITB agreed to purchase the bridge from the Canada Southern Railway Company (CASO) for $19.8 million.

Whirlpool and its Canadian counterpart are both owned by the same six investors, who come from a steep background of construction, transportation, Customs and immigration fields as well as cross-border brokerage and government relations.

“WITM was the only entity to formally express interest in buying the CASO bridge before truck border crossings became a high profile issue in the post Sept. 11 environment,” says Truesdale.

“Our plan is, and for some time has been, subject to government and regulatory approvals, to develop a dedicated international toll bridge for the exclusive use of large commercial trucks.”

The company estimates converting the bridge to accommodate trucks will cost about US$220 million, and will involve five years of construction.

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