Plans to build a second border crossing between Michigan and Ontario have received the necessary environmental approvals from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The “record of decision” (ROD), signed Thursday, Jan. 15, by U.S. officials, represents the Detroit River International Crossing’s (DRIC) final environmental clearance and allows Michigan to begin right-of-way acquisition and construction planning for the bridge.
If completed, the project — including a plaza where tolls and U.S. border inspection activities will occur, and an interchange connecting it to Interstate 75 — would span nearly seven miles. Under current estimates, the new crossing is expected to be open to traffic in 2013.
Environmental review for the U.S. side of the project, which concluded with the ROD signing, began March 24, 2003, with the publication of a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register. A similar review of environmental impacts on the river’s Canadian side conducted earlier this year by Ontario and Transport Canada is nearing completion.
DOT says the process to complete DRIC’s federal environmental documentation lasted less than four years, about half the time needed for similar projects of this size, and included more than 100 meetings and public hearings.