Bluewater Bridge Construction



Click Here for photos of the construction.

The Bluewater Bridge international border crossing is a key link between the world's two greatest trading partners. The bridge is centrally located on the eastern border area between the U.S. and Canada, through which 80% of the trade between the two countries passes. It is strategically placed on the major trade and transportation corridors linking Michigan and Ontario. The Port Huron/Sarnia area is directly accessible via freeways 1-94,1-69 and Highways 402/401. Not only is the bridge part of the quickest route between Chicago and Toronto, it is a link to the vast recreation areas of Michigan and Ontario. Located on the south end of Lake Huron, it allows for high speed access to unlimited tourist and recreation opportunities.

The total volume of vehicles using the Bluewater Bridge more than doubled in the 1980s. By 1991 yearly volumes passed the six million mark with trucks amounting to 12% of all users. By 1995, truck usage had increased to over 20% of all traffic and continues to increase.

In recognition of these demands, the State of Michigan and the Bluewater Bridge Authority have embarked on an aggressive program of improvements in the last five years. This involves the complete reconstruction of customs and immigration facilities, extensive new commercial vehicle processing areas and the addition of a second bridge spanning the St. Clair River. In total, $150 million (U.S.) is being spent to provide the highest level of service to crossing customers. Already recognized as one of the most important U.S.-Canada border gateways, these exciting changes will ensure fast and efficient vehicle processing well into the 21 st century. Fed by fully access-controlled, high-speed highways directly to modern custom facilities on both sides of the border, the Bluewater Bridge will remain a strategic crossing point for the trucking industry and millions of vacationing, recreational and commuting trips each year.

Remembering

It was 11 years after serious discussion first began on a bridge between Canada and the U.S. that the Bluewater Bridge opened. The original proposal called for a crossing between Sarnia and Port Huron. That plan was eventually replaced with a crossing between Point Edward, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan. Many area residents recall walking across the bridge on that opening day of Oct. 24, 1938 as part of an event that included Michigan Governor Frank Murphy and Ontario Premier Mitchell Hepbum. A song, "Across Blue Waters," was even written by Ted A. Keller, to mark the event. Ferry service, which had been offered as early as 1833, continued into 1939, but was replaced by bus service between the two countries. Ceremonies are again planned for the opening of the twin span in 1997.

Bridge Facts


The new second span of the Bluewater Bridge will be made up of the following materials:
  • * 50,000 meters (31 miles) of steel foundation piles;
  • * 24,000 cubic meters (31,000 cubic yards) of concrete;
  • * 2.42 million kilos (5.3 million pounds)of reinforcing steel
  • * 10.07 million kilos (22 million pounds) of structural steel.
    ProjectValueCompletion Date
    New Customs and Immigration Building$2.5 Million
    Dec./95
    New Standby Generator$.6 Million
    May/96
    Demolition of Centre Island & Installation
    of Addition Customs Booths (9 to 12) & Toll Booths (4 to 6)
    $.5 Million
    Aug./96
    Refurbish "C" Building for Admin. & "B"
    Building for Toll to Allow Demolition of Centre Island
    $.5 Million
    May/96
    Replaced Old Customs Booths & Increased
    Number from 6 to 9. Built new Toll Plaza.
    $1. Million
    July/95
    Additional Truck Booths Increased from 3 to 7 $.65 Million
    Aug./96
    New Customs Commercial Facilities$2.8 Million
    Feb./97

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