Street Talk

Street Talk: International bridge construction closer

Social storm.

July 6, 2018
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Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority made several announcements July 5 regarding construction and design of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

After more than 60 experts sifted through requests for qualifications and proposals to build the bridge, WDBA Chair Dwight Duncan announced the winning team is Bridging North America, which consists of multiple companies:

  • ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc.
  • Fluor Canada Ltd.
  • Aecon Concessions, a division of Aecon Construction Group Inc.
  • RBC Dominion Securities Inc.
  • AECOM
  • Carlos Fernandez Casado S.L/FHECOR Ingenieros Consultores, S.A.
  • Moriyama and Teshima Architects
  • Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, LLP
  • Dragados Canada Inc.
  • Aecon Infrastructure Management Inc.
  • Turner Construction Company
  • Aecon O&M, a division of Aecon Construction Group Inc.
  • DBI Services, LLC
  • URS Federal Services Inc., an AECOM company

It was announced the early construction in Michigan will begin later this month, and major construction will begin in the fall.

Heather Grondin, vice president of communications and stakeholder relations for WDBA, said once the agreement is finalized in September, the WDBA will announce the project’s financials.

Grondin said the bridge is being designed in a way that will meet Canadian and U.S. requirements.

The bridge will be a cable-stay bridge 853 meters (nearly 2,800 feet) long, which WDBA officials say will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America.

Designed with a 125-year lifespan, the bridge will have six lanes — three Canada-bound and three U.S. bound — and the east side will have a lane for bicyclists and walkers with a view of downtown Detroit.

The project will include other benefits to communities on both sides of the bridge, Grondin said, including local road improvements, noise walls, and native trees and vegetation to be planted as part of the project’s landscape.

Grondin said there will be “strong demand” for jobs during the bridge construction phase and then during operations. To date, that includes more than 575 workers from about 50 companies.

In Detroit, about 20 “disadvantaged business enterprises” have been hired.

Green machines?

A nonprofit that promotes sustainability this month will discuss the impact emerging vehicle technologies may have on the planet.

The West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (WMSBF) will host a talk called “Sustainable Futures? Impact of Autonomous Vehicles, LEDs and Other Emerging Tech” from noon-2 p.m., Monday, July 16.

The event will be held at the Meijer Heritage Center at Meijer’s corporate headquarters, 2929 Walker Ave. NW in Grand Rapids.

Gregory Keoleian, the Peter M. Wege endowed chair in sustainable systems and director of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, will be the keynote speaker.

According to WMSBF, Keoleian recently led a team of researchers in partnership with Ford Motor Co. to evaluate the sustainability and environmental benefits of autonomous vehicles.

The study included a lifecycle assessment of the sensing and computing systems, a comparison of electric and combustion engine-powered vehicles and an evaluation of how autonomous vehicles could impact traffic flow.

He will discuss those topics, as well as the potential impacts of LED lights and other emerging technologies, at the event.

After Keoleian’s presentation, Meijer leaders will introduce a new exhibit at the center, “Earth Day Every Day: Meijer and Environmental Sustainability,” which traces the company’s practices and initiatives from the 1970s through the present day with artifacts from the Meijer archives and departments across the company.

The Meijer Heritage Center opened in September 2016 with 12 exhibit areas and eight media stations to showcase a collection of documents, photographs and artifacts from the Meijer archives.

Tickets to “Sustainable Futures?” will cost members $15 if purchased online or $20 at the door. The fee for non-members is $20 online and $30 at the event.

Those interested may register at bit.ly/sustainablefutureWMSBF.

Pass the info

The city of Grand Rapids has invited the community to a series of informational meetings on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance related to medical marijuana ahead of the City Commission’s public hearing on July 10.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission, during its May 24 meeting, recommended deleting several provisions of the ordinance to increase the number of available medical marijuana facilities. The Planning Commission then recommended the amended ordinance to the City Commission for approval.

Proposed changes include removing the need for an annual licensing fee, elimination of the requirement for a Voluntary Equitable Development Act and eliminating the clause requiring growers and processers to be more than 1,000 feet from a public park, playground, place of worship or a substance abuse clinic.

The city’s Planning Department planned to host four community meetings to provide information about the proposed zoning ordinance amendments and answer questions.

Two evening meetings will take place on July 9: one at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 1935 Plymouth Street SE, from 3:30-5 p.m., and the other at West Grand Neighborhood Organization, 415 Leonard St. NW, from 6-7:30 p.m.

The city’s Planning Department previously hosted two other meetings at the City Development Center on July 2 and at the LINC UP Gallery.

The City Commission’s public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in the ninth-floor Commission Chambers at City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW.

Her, too

The founder of the #MeToo movement is scheduled to appear in West Michigan later this year.

Inforum West Michigan is hosting social justice activist Tarana Burke at its annual Capstone dinner, which is the culmination of a year of programming designed to inspire, educate and encourage women to support one another.

Burke is the founder of the #MeToo movement and part of the “Silence Breakers” who were collectively named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017. She also was one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People for 2018.

Burke founded the movement in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. She led the movement using the idea of “empowerment through empathy,” letting survivors know that they are not alone.

While #MeToo has garnered worldwide attention, it was not Burke’s first foray into social activism. She has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to social justice and to laying the groundwork for a movement that was initially created to help young women of color who survived sexual abuse and assault. She also is senior director of programs at Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity.

Her keynote address will highlight the event, which is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m., Nov. 29, at the JW Marriott, 235 Louis St. NW. Tickets are $75 for Inforum members and $100 for guests. Corporate tables also are available.

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