Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersThe Detroit River International Crossing Environmental Assessment Study

The Detroit River International Crossing Environmental Assessment Study


The Windsor-Detroit Gateway is Canada’s busiest land border crossing. With increased security, aging infrastructure, and a competitive need to get goods to market quicker than ever, a long-term solution to improve border transportation in this gateway is required that protects the local community while responding to the economic needs of two nations. Enter the Border Transportation Partnership. This team of experts from Canada, the U.S., Ontario and Michigan aimed to address capacity, system connectivity, and redundancy at the Windsor-Detroit border through a comprehensive transportation environmental study. The study process followed the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (OEAA), the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). They began the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study in 2005. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) led the Canadian study, in partnership with Transport Canada. The study team worked closely with the local community to address their goals of improving quality of life, taking trucks off local streets, and improving the movement of traffic across the border. Members of the public, local municipalities, First Nations, and various stakeholders contributed to the study providing valuable input and information. The study team filed the Environmental Assessment (EA) report with Ontario’s Minister of the Environment in December 2008. The EA outlined a recommended plan for the locations of a new access road, plaza and international border crossing in Canada. Approved under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (OEAA) in August 2009 and under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) in December 2009, work has already begun on the new access road in Windsor. Ontario is leading the delivery of the Canadian access road—The Windsor-Essex Parkway [Appendix 1]. The Windsor-Essex Parkway is unlike any road, anywhere in Canada. The six-lane freeway is 11 km long and is below-grade meaning international-bound traffic is dropped below the line of site the local communities. The Parkway features 11 tunnels and a four-lane service road allowing long-distance international traffic to travel unimpeded by traffic signals to a new inspection plaza and river crossing while improving community linkages and providing new recreational opportunities including trails and green space. For the first time Highway 401 will connect to the border uninterrupted.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
2009 TAC Environmental Achievement Award Nominations
Mantha, R.
Environmental issues, Environmental legislation