New Bridge inches forward

We previously discussed the plans for the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge and whether it will accommodate bicycling.

Yesterday, the Federal Highway Administration made the following announcement:

Plans to build a second border crossing between Michigan and Ontario have received the necessary environmental approvals from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The “record of decision” (ROD), signed today by U.S. officials, represents the Detroit River International Crossing’s (DRIC) final environmental clearance and allows Michigan to begin right-of-way acquisition and construction planning for the bridge.

If completed, the project – including a plaza where tolls and U.S. border inspection activities will occur, and an interchange connecting it to I-75 – would span nearly seven miles. Under current estimates, the new crossing is expected to be open to traffic in 2013.

Prior to this announcement, MTGA and other groups (including the Detroit Mayor’s Office of Energy and Sustainability) submitted comments that encouraged biking and walking on the bridge.

These comments generally asked:

  • How does this project positively impact Detroit greenways and the City’s non-motorized plan?
  • How does the bridge accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians?

MTGA comments noted that not all of the greenways in the DRIC’s vicinity were included, nor was there any mention of Detroit’s non-motorized plan.  MDOT said they “will investigate ways to integrate these projects.”

MTGA also asked for clarification on how bicycle would be routed on the bridge.  (There is a sidewalk planned for pedestrians.)  MDOT  responded:

The accommodation for bicycles on the new river bridge is likely to be the right shoulder. When exiting the bridge, a bicyclist would remain to the right of traffic and proceed to a separate building near the primary processing booths for vehicles. After processing, there would be an exit to Jefferson Avenue. All of this is subject to the determination of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its Canadian counterpart to allow bicycle use of the new Detroit River bridge.

That last statement could be a deal killer, though it’s difficult to imagine how a bicycle could be any more of a threat than a car or truck.

Still,  it may make sense to involve folks like Senator Carl Levin early on.  Senator Levin has been a major supporter of the Detroit Riverwalk and there’s every reason to believe he would go to bat for allowing bicycling across the bridge.

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One Response to “New Bridge inches forward”

  1. Biking to Windsor across the Ambassador Bridge | Says:

    […] The new proposed public bridge (called the DRIC) does plan to provide bike and pedestrian access. […]

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