Work has begun on the two-year, $8.9-million International Bridge toll plaza reconstruction project in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.
Work started on June 4 after the International Bridge Authority (IBA) gave approval to contractor DeVere Construction Company and subcontractor M&M Excavating, both based out of Michigan.
The project will replace the 52-year-old toll plaza and office building. The new toll booths and office building will be constructed approximately 45 metres south of the existing booths and building. Construction on the plaza project is scheduled to conclude in November 2015.
The IBA is now preparing to install temporary toll booths, which will be located just north of the current booths and accessed by the recently completed temporary toll lanes. On the morning of July 10, all northbound toll traffic will be routed onto the recently completed toll lanes. Northbound traffic will be served by two temporary booths.
All southbound toll traffic will be served by one temporary toll booth and one existing toll booth. These temporary toll booths will be used until early October while three of five new permanent toll booths are completed and three of four existing toll booths are removed.
Construction has been planned to minimize disruption to toll traffic and bridge customer inconvenience.
A similar project is underway on the Canadian side of the border. The project involves expanding and redesigning the existing port of entry and building a new Canada Border Services Agency inspection building, a duty-free shop and a maintenance building.
In April, federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced $7.5 million is being earmarked for the redevelopment of the Canadian bridge plaza, which is in addition to the $44 million Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in 2009. The money comes from Gateways and Border Crossings Fund.
The maintenance and operation of the International Bridge is totally self-funded, primarily from tolls collected.