The federal government has announced the conclusion of an agreement between Canada and the State of Michigan that paves the way for building a new bridge over the Detroit River at Windsor.
The new span, known as the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC), is expected to cost $1 billion.
The announcement culminates nearly 10 years of political wrangling and controversy surrounding the bridge project.
It was made official by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in a historic binational announcement.
The agreement establishes the framework for the role of Canada and Michigan in building the bridge, as well as the responsibilities for the construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the new international crossing.
The bridge is expected to reduce congestion at the critical Canada-U.S. border crossing in Windsor and support the creation of new export-related jobs and investment opportunities along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.
The crossing will be located off Brighton Beach on the Canadian side and link to the Detroit industrial community of Delray, just north of Zug Island.
The project will generate between 10,000 and 15,000 construction jobs in Ontario and Michigan.
The project will include the bridge, Canadian and U.S. inspection plazas, and an interchange with Interstate-75.
Construction is expected to take four to five years.
The project will be funded by the Government of Canada, with the U.S. plaza being the responsibility of the U.S. government.
The private sector is also expected to contribute to the project through a public-private partnership.
The Windsor-Essex Parkway, which is currently under construction, will connect Highway 401 to the new bridge.
With the signing of the agreement, Canada and Michigan can now proceed with the next steps of the project, which include further design work and property acquisition on the U.S. side.