For release April 11, 2002
BI-NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP TAKES
The Partnership of the four governments has awarded a $4.5 million contract for the Needs and Feasibility Planning Study to lead consultant, URS Cole Sherman. The study will identify short-and long-term transportation needs, alternatives and potential new crossings to improve the movement of people, goods and services in Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario.
During the past year, the four governments have been working closely to streamline and accelerate the environmental and planning processes through the creation of a single, integrated planning process.
"The Detroit-Windsor gateway is the most important economic link between Canada and the United States," said Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette. "This study will help address the negative effects on transportation and trade resulting from increased congestion and delays at the border."
"The economies of Michigan and Ontario are very dependent upon each other, and have a significant impact on the United States and Canada as a whole," said Governor John Engler of Michigan. "The partnership is a great example of how neighbours can work together to help each other through complicated and difficult issues."
"The Windsor-Detroit border crossing is a vital economic gateway for our province's trade with the U.S.," Ontario Minister of Transportation Brad Clark said. "This project is a critical step towards ensuring Ontario's competitiveness in the future through the safe and efficient movement of people and goods across the border."
"The transportation networks of the United States and Canada must work in tandem to help ensure the economic prosperity of both countries," said Jim Steele of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. "Proposals to improve an intersection of those two networks that is as important as the Detroit-Windsor crossing deserve our utmost attention and support. It's encouraging to see four governmental units come together as one to find a solution."
This study is the first of a six-stage integrated planning and environmental process. It will take approximately 18 to 24 months to complete the first stage. Key stakeholders and the public will be invited to provide input and advice through advisory groups and public information centres.
As a result of the tragic events of September 11th, border management issues have become more urgent and critical. The partners are working to accelerate the planning work and also working with border inspection agencies to develop operational measures to ease congestion at the border.
The Bi-National Partnership demonstrates the commitment by the four governments to work together to improve transportation infrastructure in Michigan and Ontario.
Ari B. Adler
Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca.
This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.
The Canadian, American, Ontario and Michigan governments are conducting a Needs and Feasibility Planning Study to improve traffic flow at the Windsor-Detroit gateway. The study will assess the existing transportation network, including border crossings and will identify short and long-term transportation needs, alternatives and potential new crossings in the region of Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario.
The work is being directed by the Canada-U.S.-Ontario-Michigan Border Transportation Partnership, a working group that includes representatives from the United States Federal Highway Administration, Transport Canada, Michigan Department of Transportation and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Funding for this study is being provided by all four partner governments.
Today, the Partnership is announcing the name of the consultant firms hired to work with the Partnership to conduct the study. The consultant team includes the following firms:
URS Cole Sherman (prime)
The purpose of this study is to confirm the need for additional capacity at the border crossing, scope the range of border crossing and transportation connection alternatives, assess the feasibility of the alternatives from transportation, environmental and socio-economic perspectives, and identify the type and general location of the recommended alternatives.
The study is the first of a six-stage integrated planning and environmental process. It will take approximately 18-24 months to complete the first stage. Key stakeholders and the public will be invited to provide input and advice through advisory groups and public information centres.
The study will examine existing and future cross-border transportation problems within the area of Wayne County and the City of Detroit in Michigan, and the County of Essex and the City of Windsor in Ontario. It will also examine these challenges within the larger transportation network in Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario, which includes the Bluewater Bridge connecting Flint via I-69, Port Huron via I-94 and London via Highway 402, and the rail linkages in the study area. The study will also consider areas linked with or affected by the international crossings at Windsor/Detroit, including the Greater Toronto Area via Highway 401 and Ohio via I-75.
The results of the Needs and Feasibility Planning Study will be used to begin work on an integrated environmental process a process that will meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (OEAA). The environmental process includes examination of alternative designs and construction approaches, and environmental impacts and mitigation. The process provides the opportunity for public and stakeholder consultation.
The entire planning and environmental process will include the following general stages:
Stage 1 - Needs and Feasibility Planning Study
Stage 2 - Scoping and Terms of Reference
Stage 3 - Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Route Location and Concept Design
Stage 4 - Environmental Study Report (ESR) for Design/Property Acquisition
Stage 5 - Obtaining Permits/Approvals
Stage 6 Construction
The Bi-National Partnership demonstrates the commitment of governments to work together to improve vital border crossings.
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