Peace Bridge Capital Improvement Plan Moving Forward
Q&A with Damon Piatek, President & CEO of Welke Customs Brokers USA
There are some important updates related to the Peace Bridge Authority's capital improvement plan that were recently announced. What can you tell us about this news?
This is very exciting news in my opinion. As you may know, the Peace Bridge will turn 88-years-old this year; however, the bridge remains in solid structural condition. It is definitely a safe crossing, just a bit out of date.
What the Peace Bridge Authority has proposed is a series of on-plaza improvements to make the crossing work more efficiently. Let's call it a "makeover" of sorts to the bridge and some plaza areas.
The projects are part of a $167 million capital plan that includes widening the Canadian plaza bridge approach to four lanes, upgraded radiation portal monitors, and also the conducting of a full re-decking of the bridge.
Not only will the bridge deck be replaced, but plans call for
- new, upgraded retro/historic light standards
- new railings
- an eight-foot multi-purpose pedestrian/cycling walk widening
- a new gantry system with variable messaging capability
- and last but definitely not least - the installation of a new international "look-out" viewing deck facility located directly at the international boundary.
In your business, I imagine the free flow of trade across the border is important. Will the construction create traffic impacts during the upcoming heavy travel months throughout the spring and summer?
No, the Peace Bridge Authority has stated it will be committed to making sure no major traffic impacts happen during prime travel season or occasions. And no major traffic disruptions related to this overall work are expected. There will also be no lane closures related to this work during the 2015 summer season either.
Work is slated to begin in a few months on the footings, foundations and sub-structure of the widened Canadian approach. This also will have no impact on bridge traffic. During the bridge re-decking in the 2016 summer season all lanes of the bridge will be open for traffic just as they are today.
Where can people get more information on the Peace Bridge projects?
The Authority website at www.peacebridge.com has more information, including some renderings of the projects. Overall, the advancement of this capital project work is a positive sign for our border region, as once complete, these projects will help facilitate a more efficient flow of traffic and goods at the crossing, and that should really always be our goal when money is spent on bridge and transportation infrastructure between Canada and the United States.