By John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press
In January, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, a nonprofit Canadian entity that is leading the bridge project, sought applicants to fill a range of staffing jobs
The early organizational work for the planned new bridge between Detroit and Windsor appears to be speeding up.
In January, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, a nonprofit Canadian entity that is leading the bridge project, sought applicants to fill a range of staffing jobs in administration, communications, information technology, human resources, policy analysis, accounting and finance, engineering, operations and legal.
Michael Cautillo, president and CEO of the bridge authority, said more job postings would be published as operational needs are identified.
A Windsor recruitment firm has been retained to assist with the hiring process. Candidates interested in working with the project should apply online at thejobshoppe.com.
And just this past week, the bridge authority announced it had awarded a significant engineering contract worth $17 million to Parsons to serve as the general engineering consultant for the project, which is known by two names — the Detroit River International Crossing (the Canadian title) and the New International Trade Crossing (the title that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder prefers).
Much remains to be done, including land acquisition in Detroit’s Delray neighborhood and — perhaps the thorniest issue — resolving who will pay to build the U.S. Customs and Border Protection plaza on the Detroit end of the bridge. The U.S. government, which will operate the plaza, has so far balked at paying for it, a cost that could total somewhere in the $250-$300 million range depending on the scope.
But as this month’s moves by the bridge authority show, the project is moving forward.
“This is an important milestone for the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority,” said Mark McQueen, chairman of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, said of the selection of Parsons last week. “With the selection of the general engineering consultant, the WDBA is able to move forward in the development of the (bridge) project. Parsons and their team will work closely with the border inspection agencies, Michigan and Canada as we design and eventually build the new crossing, highway interchange and inspection plazas.”
A California-headquartered firm, Parsons operates offices in 28 nations, including an office in Southfield. Parsons is a recognized authority on bridge design and has worked on Canada’s Highway 407 in Toronto and bridge projects in Ohio and Indiana as well as the John James Audubon Bridge in Louisiana — the longest cable-stayed bridge in the western hemisphere.
Under its six-year contract, Parsons will perform a range of engineering services including project management, engineering studies, technical design, utility relocation and development of the specifications for all components of the crossing project on both sides of the border.
Parsons has assembled a team of sub-consultants to support their work, including Hamilton Anderson Associates of Detroit. The majority of the team will be working out of the WDBA offices in Windsor. The firm will also be hiring local professional staff to assist with the project.
Still to come: Selection of a team of companies that will actually design and build the bridge.
Canadian officials have said that the disagreement over paying for the U.S. Customs plaza will not hold up the construction of the bridge, which is scheduled to open in 2020. The moves in January by the bridge authority show they mean business.
Originally posted by the Detroit Free Press