Border truck tunnel planned in Detroit

| Friday, October 26, 2001

According to the Detroit Free Press, a Toronto company is planning to create a new truck tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario to help speed trade at the busiest U.S.-Canadian border crossing. The project would cost about $375 million and would be paid in part by tolls.

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.

If approved, the Detroit River Rail Tunnel, a 100-year-old cargo train tunnel, would be converted into a two-way truck tunnel. A new tunnel for trains would then be built under the truck tunnel, or beside it on the bed of the Detroit River. The truck tunnel could open by 2006.

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

While funding appears to be in order, state officials said the issue of where to put Customs officials and how to minimize delays at the tunnel would be an obstacle.

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