Gordie Howe Bridge designers unveil detailed 3-D model of $4.4 billion project

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Designers have released a detailed three-dimensional model and video of the completed Gordie Howe International Bridge, as construction proceeds on the $4.4 billion project.

Architects reportedly spent 2,000 hours to reproduce an exact 1:750-scale of the project, including vehicles, plaza buildings, the bridge tower and roadways.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) released a six minute YouTube video of the replica last week, including interviews with the architects involved in the work.

Peter McCann Architectural Models Inc.produced the model, one of four to be completed by the design team before the end of the year.

“Models such as this are always completed as part of any large-scale infrastructure project,” the Windsor Star quoted WDBA spokesperson Mark Butler as saying. “They help to show the level of detail and full scope of the project.”

“Having a scale of this magnitude allows you to see the flow from the Herb Gray Parkway into the plaza to pay tolls, into the bridge, then U.S. customs and on to I-75,” Butler said.

“It’s an incredibly complete picture of the flow as you go through the border that shows how everything will be integrated together. It’s a whole different level of detail then just looking at blueprints or drawings.”

Nicholas Bogle, an architect with AECOM, one of the global companies working on the final design, said in the video how difficult it can be linking all the buildings and aspects of the bridge project together so that they will all work seamlessly once completed.

“This is one of those unique projects you don’t often get in your career,” Bogle said. “How many people have ever worked on a border crossing?

“It has the bridge, new roadways. It’s really four mega-projects (bridge, two plazas and the I-75 interchange) in one, so we have four teams working on this entire project. My work is to look at it overall and pull together all four projects as one, so it reads as one complete project.”

The replica model unveiled on Nov. 6 is approximately eight-by-20-feet in size, the Star reported.

The other models of the Howe project soon to be completed by the Toronto firm include a 1:500 scale of the bridge itself, plus two 1:250 scale models of each bridge tower.

“The beauty of a 3-D model is we can all look at drawings, but 3-D makes it real,” Bogle said. “The border is a very complex process for a person to move from one country to another. This (replica) really helps emphasize that. And the bridge is the star of the show that links all those elements together.”

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