WINDSOR, Ont. -- Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to use the new cross-border Gordie Howe International Bridge that will connect Windsor, Ont., with Detroit.
The announcement of a "dedicated multi-use path" for cyclists and pedestrians was made Wednesday during a news event at Bike Windsor-Essex.
Dwight Duncan, chairman of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority's board of directors, said in a statement that the bridge's new feature is a response to community demand.
"We have heard you loud and clear that the ability to cross the Gordie Howe International Bridge by bike or by foot is important to you," Duncan said. "The integration of a multi-use path will benefit the communities, as it will support active transportation, a healthy lifestyle as well as enhance cycle tourism across the border."
Bike lanes on the bridge were already rolled into the final bidding stage for three short-listed companies vying to build the bridge.
The bridge authority said the multi-use path will be located on the east side and will include barriers to separate pedestrians and cyclists from vehicles. The path will also feature one lane with two-way traffic and users will be required to carry the same identification as any other person crossing the border.
In a statement Wednesday, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi applauded the bridge authority "for their ongoing efforts to ensure public engagement on all aspects of this project, including working in partnership with Canada Border Services Agency and US Customs and Border Protection to make this path a reality."
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also took to Twitter to celebrate the announcement, calling the inclusion of the path "wonderful news."
The long-sought Gordie Howe International Bridge was spawned from a hard-fought political battle among national, state, provincial and local politicians and the private owner of the existing Ambassador Bridge, which is the busiest commercial trade crossing between the U.S. and Canada.
To make the project a reality, the Canadian government agreed to pay for all construction costs, including $250 million for the inspection plaza on the American side of the river, with a plan to recoup the costs through tolls.
The price of the new bridge, which is expected to be completed in 2020, is now pegged at $4.8 billion.