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Michigan Soo breaks ground on toll plaza

Ground broke on May 16 on the site of a new, $8.9-million International Bridge toll plaza in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.
international bridge cropped
Sault St. Marie, MI, has broken ground on a new plaza for the International Bridge. (FILE PHOTO)

Ground broke on May 16 on the site of a new, $8.9-million International Bridge toll plaza in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

The project will replace the 52-year-old toll plaza and office building, and will incorporate the realignment and reconstruction of the I-75 ramps immediately south of the toll plaza. Construction on the plaza project is scheduled to begin in June and conclude in November 2015.

The relocation of the booths will provide more room for southbound trucks exiting U.S. Customs and Border Protection to manoeuvre through the toll booths. The existing five toll lanes will be replaced by seven lanes with the toll booths oriented diagonally across the traffic lanes to maximize the southbound separation distance from the CBP docks.

In addition to this project, the IBA will install a new $2.3-million toll system, which will provide customer convenience enhancements, especially to the electronic debit card program.

Public open houses to discuss the project are scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. on May 20 at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and from 4 to 7 p.m. on May 21 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Ojibway in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

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.