1. What is the Planning/Need
and Feasibility Study?
All of the partnership representatives - the governments of Canada, the United States, Michigan and Ontario - recognize the need to address the traffic flow at the Southeast Michigan-Southwest Ontario border, one of the world's busiest international crossings. The study will examine all potential solutions for meeting the projected growth in future trade and traffic between the two countries and offer recommendations for both the medium and long term. [Back to top]
The purpose of the study is to find workable solutions for addressing traffic flow across the border. The study will assess the existing transportation network and will identify medium and long-term needs, alternatives and potential solutions for the region.
The bi-national government partnership aims to use this study to narrow the possible solutions to reach the best overall answer that will ensure the safe and efficient flow of people, goods and services across the Michigan-Ontario gateway.
The study will provide a comprehensive 30-year strategy to address both medium and long-term solutions for ensuring the Southeast Michigan-Southwest Ontario border remains a key gateway between Canada and the United States. [Back to top]
The current Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario border crossings are among the busiest international crossings in North America and represent nearly 50 per cent of the traffic volume crossing the U.S./Canada border.
Currently, more than 75,000 vehicles use the crossings each day. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation's Southwest Ontario Frontier International Gateway Study (1998), daily traffic at these crossings will grow to 104,000 vehicles by 2021. The study also provides the following example: Traffic at one of the busiest Michigan-Ontario crossings, the Ambassador Bridge/Huron Church Road/Highway 3 corridor, is expected to reach capacity around 2010. [Back to top]
The study is being conducted by the Canada-U.S.-Ontario-Michigan
Border Transportation Partnership. This bi-national partnership includes
representatives from Transport
Key stakeholders from the public and private sectors will be invited to provide input through consultation groups and public information open houses.
The Partnership will provide a comprehensive 30-year strategy to address both medium and long-term solutions for ensuring the Southeast Michigan-Southwest Ontario border remains a key gateway between Canada and the United States. [Back to top]
The study will examine existing and future cross-border transportation problems at the border crossings at Windsor/Detroit and Sarnia/Port Huron. The geographic area to be studied within the area of Southwest Ontario extends east to London, while the area of Southeast Michigan extends west to the Battle Creek area.
It will also examine the larger transportation network connected by border crossings, including Interstate Freeways and Provincial 400-series Highways, rail corridors and marine crossings. The study will consider trade areas linked with or affected by the international crossings , such as the Greater Toronto Area and the Ohio region. [Back to top]
All of the partnership representatives - the governments
of Canada, the United States, Michigan and Ontario - represent the interest
of the people they serve, and encourage feedback from any member of the
Throughout the course of the study, both a Public and Private Sector Consultation Group will be provided with opportunities to review the study's progress and raise their concerns/comments.
Invited participants of the Public Sector Consultation Group include:
· U.S. Customs
Invited participants of the Private Sector Consultation Group includes privately owned bridge/tunnel operators, railway companies, freight barge operators, transport carriers, trucking associations, customs brokers and other interested organizations. [Back to top]
The comprehensive Planning/Need and Feasibility Study will take approximately two years to complete. The results will be used to begin work on an integrated environmental process that will examine the environmental impacts and mitigation of alternative designs as well as constructability issues. Depending on the findings of the Planning/Need and Feasibility Study, components for Environmental Assessments/Environmental Impact Statements may be initiated in 2004 following completion of the Study and may be expected to take approximately three to five years to complete. [Back to top]
Unlike some of the private sector proposals presented, the Partnership is focused on "bigger picture" solutions. The study will investigate not only the border crossing but also how each crossing interacts with the rest of the transportation network on both sides of the border. This will ensure a more complete overview of solutions that serves the region's need over the long term. [Back to top]
The cost estimated to undertake the Planning/Need and Feasibility Study is $4.5 million (CDN). [Back to top]
Until the study process is completed and recommendations have been made and approved, it is not possible to determine what the total cost will be. [Back to top]
The cost will be shared equally among the four members of the bi-national Partnership. Funding for this project will come from the participating state, provincial and federal transportation agencies. [Back to top]
The results of the study will be used to initiate the components for extensive Environmental Assessments/Environmental Impact Statements of the recommended projects. The results of these studies will hopefully provide an environmentally acceptable transportation alternative that the Partnership can take forward into the final design and construction phases of the project. [Back to top]
The study will assess the benefits and impacts of a wide range of socio-economic considerations. Certainly, current global events have made border management issues even more important to the four transportation agencies in the bi-national Partnership. All partners are working together to accelerate the planning process as much as possible and are looking at ways to make all crossings safe and more efficient for all its users. [Back to top]
The study will research the possibility of building a new bridge, as well as the possibility of making improvements to the Ambassador Bridge and other existing crossings. The purpose of the study is to examine all potential solutions for meeting the projected growth in future trade and traffic between the two countries. [Back to top]
The study will research the possibility of creating a new crossing, as well as the possibility of making improvements to existing crossings. The purpose of the study is to examine all potential alternatives to meet the projected growth in future trade and traffic between the two countries.
The study will examine various locations for a potential new crossing based on economic, environmental, social, geographic and transportation factors. [Back to top]
It is not yet known if a new crossing will be the preferred alternative, or if improvements to the existing crossings will be the preferred alternative. Until the Planning/Need and Feasibility Study is completed, no decision on potential construction or its time frame can be determined. However, any such recommendations will be included in the Final Planning/Need and Feasibility Study.
The Planning/Need and Feasibility Study will identify and assess all impacts and benefits of new border crossings including possible environmental impacts.
The study will be conducted in line with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of the United States, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (OEAA). The assessments along with the recommended alternatives will be the subject of public consultation during the environmental study.
In addition, formal Environmental Assessments/Environmental Impact Statements would be conducted once the Planning/Need and Feasibility Study is completed. [Back to top]
One of the objectives of the Planning/Need and Feasibility Study will be to examine the economic benefits of various alternatives to the surrounding area.
Both countries, and in particular the border cities
in the broad study area, rely on the efficient movement of goods and people
across the border. The ability to provide this efficient movement, while
addressing security concerns, affects the livelihood of the region's businesses
and residences. The study will ensure that future transportation demands
can be accommodated to allow Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario
to experience continued economic growth and increased employment through
trade growth as projected for the area. [Back
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