Border truck tunnel planned in Detroit

| 7/19/2002

The latest plan to help speed trade between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario is a proposal to convert a rail tunnel beneath the Detroit River into a roadway for international truck traffic near the Ambassador Bridge. The project reportedly would cost about $400 million and would be paid in part by tolls.

The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership, a joint venture between Canadian Pacific Railway and Borealis Transportation Infrastructure Trust, said it plans to convert a 100-year-old cargo train tunnel it owns in southwest Detroit into a two-way truck corridor. The proposal also includes a new underwater tunnel for rail traffic to be built nearby. The truck tunnel reportedly could open in five years, pending government approval on both sides of the border.

The plan was announced by Borealis Transportation Infrastructure Trust, which bought a 50-percent share of the tunnel with Canadian National Railway in spring 2001. In March 2001, Borealis also purchased land around the tunnel openings.

About 9,500 trucks reportedly cross the Ambassador Bridge connecting the two cities daily. Commercial traffic at Michigan's three commercial truck crossings doubled to 5.3 million trucks per year from 1990 to 2000, and is expected to triple by 2020.