Governments kick-in $300 million on new Windsor border plan

WINDSOR, Ont. (March 11, 2004) — Three levels of government have agreed to join in a $300 million investment program to relieve tie-ups and traffic congestion at the world’s busiest border crossing between Windsor, Ont. and Detroit.

The Governments of Canada, Ontario, and Windsor announced the first measures in the multi-year project — titled “Let’s Get Windsor/Essex Moving” — today. The initiative effectively replaces the previous nine-point Windsor Gateway Action Plan. Highlights to improve the Windsor Gateway include:

— Infrastructure improvements to the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel Plaza to provide more effective traffic management for border clearance programs like NEXUS/FAST. Canada and Ontario will each contribute up to $10 million towards the plaza redevelopment, subject to approval by the city of Windsor.

— The construction of a pedestrian overpass near the intersection of Huron Church Road and Girardot Street to improve the safety and convenience of residents.

— The construction of the Walker Road rail grade separation at Grand Marais Road and the completion of an Environmental Assessment for the Howard Road rail grade separation to reduce traffic congestion and improve the movement of goods by rail and trucking modes. The grade separations will need to conform to Canadian Pacific Rail’s service needs and not disrupt rail traffic.

— Further improvements to the Industrial Drive/Huron Church Road intersection to support the development of the new pre-processing facility recently opened on Industrial Drive. The purpose of the centre is to pre-process the paperwork of the 30 per cent of trucks that show up at the border without being set up on any line-release system.

— The implementation of intelligent transportation systems leading to the border crossings such as traffic monitors and changeable message signs.

All three government leaders says the plan marks a new, more cooperative, approach between all levels to address the long-standing problems leading to the Ambassador Bridge. Some of the initiatives are scheduled to begin this summer.

The Windsor/Detroit crossing is the busiest in the world, acting as the gateway for more than $140 billion in annual trade between Canada and the U.S. — which is about 25 per cent of total trade between the two nations. About 10,000 trucks alone converge on Huron Church Road and secondary arteries in Windsor every day, creating a bottleneck that constricts trade flows, puts severe strain on infrastructure.

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