The entities constructing the Gordie Howe International Bridge, planned to be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America when it connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, is pushing back the project's completion date from November 2024 to September 2025. 

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, the public-private partnership created as a Canadian Crown Corporation to complete the bridge, and the private partner managing the project, Bridging North America, announced the change in timeline in a Jan. 4 press release.

WDBA and BNA have amended the P3 contract to include the new September 2025 construction completion date and updated the overall contract value to $4.77 billion from the original $4.1-billion project cost. They have also budgeted $2.3 million in a one-year extension of the the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan that will see the money divided equally between Canadian and U.S. communities on both sides of the new bridge. It will now be spent over the 2025-2026 fiscal year. WDBA and BNA said they would provide details of the community benefits plans closer to completion of the bridge.

"After a three-year pandemic and considering the size and complexity of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, our project team is pleased that the impact to the construction schedule is limited to only 10 months beyond the original contracted completion date and that we could agree on a reasonable adjustment to the contract value," said Charl van Niekerk, CEO of WDBA, in a statement. "With safety as our top priority, we will continue to work together to deliver this much-needed infrastructure to the thousands of eager travelers ready to cross North America’s longest cable-stayed bridge."

The P3 consortium includes ACS Infrastructure, Dragados Canada, Fluor and Aecon. AECOM is the design engineer of the bridge, but not part of the P3. The full scope of the project includes four separate segments: the bridge itself, the port of entry in Canada, the port of entry in the U.S. and the Michigan Interchange that will link the bridge to Interstate 75. The Canadian port of entry work also includes the toll plaza.

The total cost increase to the consortium is $525 million. On Fluor's second quarter 2021 earnings call, management noted it maintained  40% in the consortium suggesting Fluor's share of the claim is about $200 million, according to Andrew Wittmann, senior industry analyst at Baird Equity Research. In his analysis, Wittman wroter Fluor was able to identify about $200 million of discrete charges called out specifically for the job, thus nearly matching the relief that was granted, which improved Fluor's outlook and cash position for 2024.

While Michigan, at the order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), was one of the few states to temporarily shut down construction on all projects during the start of the pandemic in May 2020, the Gordie Howe International Bridge was exempt from that order as "essential public works." Ground was broken on the project in 2019, but WDBA and BNA's statement said that the disruptions to its schedule were even more prevalent given the differing applicable restrictions in the U.S. and Canada, combined with the ramping up of construction activities it had planned for early 2020. The project also saw shutdowns due to getting materials to either side of the project when truckers protesting COVID mandates shutdown the nearby Ambassador Bridge.

Officials from WDBA previously said that unknown conditions on the 1-75 interchange—a 1.8-mile portion of the interstate highway that will connect traffic from the bridge to the highway—also complicated scheduling. 

Over 2022 and 2023, the project team was able to make progress on bridge and road deck construction, stay cable installation and port of entry facilities which helped drive the overall construction schedule, the statement said. In 2024, the public can expect to see the bridge deck connect over the Detroit River and the last of the 216 stay cables installed, as well as the completion of the POE agency buildings and the concrete for the I-75 ramps, the partnership said.

This story was updated Jan. 12, 2024 to include information from Baird Equity Research.