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Toledo readies for more and faster trade promised by Gordie Howe Bridge

Posted By: Toledo Blade on September 10, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

The new Gordie Howe International Bridge is still nearly two years from completion.

But already anticipation is building in northwest Ohio for the new $4.4 billion international crossing promising to smooth passenger vehicle and commercial truck traffic between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Local real estate and economic development officials are optimistic it will bring demand for warehousing and commercial space to Toledo to take advantage of the trade and transportation opportunities the bridge will afford.

“I absolutely believe more businesses will locate in Toledo,” Perrysburg Township Trustee Bob Mack said of the bridge’s impact. Mr. Mack is a Toledo-based commercial real estate company Signature Associates partner.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge also should lure auto suppliers that bring parts just-in-time to the many assembly plants in Ohio, Michigan and Ontario because of the time it will save traversing the Detroit River and customs, said Joe Cappel, vice president of business development at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

It will be a duplicative crossing to the 93-year-old Ambassador Bridge, which handles thousands of trucks daily and is a mile upriver from where the new bridge is under construction.

Mr. Cappel said the new bridge will definitely speed truck traffic when it opens, but the jury is still out on whether it will actually result in more truck traffic than the Ambassador Bridge currently carries.

“Time will tell whether [the new bridge] increases trade,” he said.

The Oregon Economic Development Foundation will hold an economic impact forum on the new bridge on Sept. 28 at the Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center at 1750 State Park Rd. in Oregon.

It kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with networking followed by the program at 10 a.m. and more networking and food at noon.

The scheduled speakers are Marta Leardi-Anderson of the Cross Border Institute at the University of Windsor; Tim Mayle of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing; Susan Restrepo at the Ohio Department of Development; Stephanie Campeau of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority; and Jim Robey of Robey Analytics and Vestian Global Work Place Services.

The highest span of the Gordie Howe International Bridge is already in place as construction continues on the 1.5-mile crossing and highway ramps along I-75 in Detroit. The Canadian government is paying for the bridge, and construction began in June 2018. The Canadian government expects to recoup the costs through toll revenue.

Mr. Mack at Signature Associates said the state of Ohio had the foresight to widen I-75 through Toledo to Findlay to accommodate the growth in traffic that the bridge and Toledo’s renewal would generate.

“The state knew it was coming and wanted to plan for it,” he said.

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