2020 opening - at the earliest - for the new river bridge (con't)

But that’s only after a new bridge management authority has been put in place.

And that has yet to happen.

Meanwhile there are wild cards that could delay the project even further.

One is Proposal 6 - which is to be voted on this week by Michigan residents - and could influence whether any new international crossings get built.

Meanwhile no site preparation or construction work at all has taken place on the Detroit side of the bridge, despite the high profile signing of an international agreement last June - including the presence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper - between Canada and Michigan to get the project underway.

This is in stark contrast to work rapidly proceeding on the $1.4 billion Windsor-Essex Parkway connecting highways on the Canadian side to the proposed bridge.

Not even any properties on the Michigan side have yet been purchased.

“There have been no properties purchased and no construction prep work since the authority has not been appointed or convened yet,” MDOT spokesman Jeff Cranson said.

But Cranson says the current controversy over Proposal 6 “is not a factor” in the lack of activity.

Instead, several initial steps are needed.

These include a presidential permit and actually finalizing the formal agreement with Canada.

Once these are done, Cranson said, utility relocation design would begin as well as property acquisition.

This all is scheduled in the “preliminary project phasing plan” which is considered an “aggressive” time line, he said.

Meanwhile a P3 partner also has to be chosen to actually build the structure.

Cranson also said property acquisition and design work “on some elements” still has to be completed before such an entity is even selected.

Should all this be satisfied the schedule over the next six years would be roughly as follows.

Design of the corridor, service drives and interchanges would begin in the second year.

Acquisition of properties would also start including for utility relocations, the plaza and its buffer zone and the main bridge span.

As soon as land along the right of way is acquired bridge and approach work would begin.

Year three would see more design work, preparation for existing road traffic realignments, construction of north and south bound lanes, and a start on the main span.

Year four would see all land acquisitions completed, hazardous soil remediation done, start of service drive construction, and replacement of existing Detroit street bridges and approaches such as at Green Street and Livernois Ave.

In year five there would be several ramps constructed as well as construction starting on the toll and inspection plazas.

Year six would see construction starts on the Springwells and Clark streets interchanges and plaza interchange ramps.

Finally, in year seven, the service drives would be completed, the Springwells and Clark interchanges done, the main bridge span finished, the plaza completed, as well as the interchange ramps.

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Jewish film festival now postponed

As might be expected, the city’s oldest film festival, scheduled each spring, has been postponed for 2020. The 18th edition of the Ruth and Bernard Friedman Windsor Jewish Film Festival has been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak. Jay Katz, executive director of the Windsor Jewish Federation, said due to circumstances created by the pandemic, organizers don’t have a new date. “It’s not really possible to do much planning the way things are, Cineplex is closed, who knows what our horizon is,” he said. Devonshire Cineplex cinemas have traditionally been the site of the festival. Katz declined to announce any titles of the booked films because “that would ruin the suspense and we’ll make a big announcement when the time comes.” The festival shows 10 films over four days. It was scheduled to run Monday-Thursday April 27-30. The festival is the city’s oldest. By contrast the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF), held in autumn, last year celebrated its 15th anniversary. – 4/3/20</i>

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