Concept of the bridge
Photo: @GordieHoweBrg (Twitter)

Plans for a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor have been in the works for years, but it took until today for something more concrete to materialize. On Thursday, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority—the entity overseeing the project—announced the company that will build the span, and now we have a glimpse of what it might look like.

The authority said a company named Bridging North America has been chosen to build the span, after competing for the project for more than a year.

When completed, the cable-stayed bridge will be the longest main span in North America at 853 meters, reports the Detroit Free Press, or about 2,800 feet for us non-metric brains.

Based on the concept produced today, it looks like it’ll be a pretty sight against the Detroit skyline:

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In a nod to hockey fanatics on both sides of the Detroit River, the span will be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge. But the process has been fraught with controversy, thanks only to the billionaire Moroun family, whose public rep in Detroit recently took a boost because it decided to finally sell the Michigan Central Station to Ford.

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The Morouns own the Ambassador Bridge, currently the only span between Detroit and Windsor, and the family has pulled out all the stops to prevent the Gordie Howe Bridge from going up. Numerous failed lawsuits, a comically unsuccessful effort to pass a constitutional amendment ballot measure, gobs of cash spent buying politicians off to no avail.

And while the Morouns try to quash the Gordie Howe bridge, it’s looking to build a competing span of its own.

Bloomberg recapped the saga in April:

The Gordie is already more expensive than the bridge the Morouns are planning. The Canadian span has been estimated to cost $3.1 billion. The Morouns say their bridge, which would be a six-lane span next to the four-lane Ambassador, would cost $1 billion; they’ve already spent $500 million. Matthew Moroun argues the Gordie is unnecessary and will never recoup its costs, and that Canada has used its government agencies to undercut U.S. business. “As an American company, we feel like we’re being abused,” says Dan Stamper, president of the Moroun-owned Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns the old bridge.

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Abused! If only Stamper knew how residents of Southwest Detroit feel about the Morouns. So, now, the Morouns are lobbying the Trump administration to intervene, but as Bloomberg reports, there seems to be little appetite to get involved.

Meanwhile, plans call for the Gordie Howe bridge to have a lifespan of 125 years, and, according to the Freep, it’ll carry bike lanes along the side that faces downtown Detroit.

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It’s unclear how much the project will cost—the bridge authority says contracts will be finalized in the fall. In the meantime, it’ll be worth watching to see if the Morouns try to ratchet up its efforts to stop it from coming to fruition.