SAULT STE.MARIE, ON — Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt announced additional funding for the redevelopment of the Canadian plaza after a tour of the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge border crossing.
The Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge spans the St. Mary’s River between the United States and Canada connecting the cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
A few years back, it was estimated that more than 130,000 commercial trucks transport about $3.6 billion worth of goods through Sault Ste. Marie to get to the International Bridge crossing each year. At the time, there were plans to develop Sault Ste. Marie as a regional transportation hub and to increased commercial traffic.
The funding is meant to remove truck traffic from downtown streets, but will also assist the city in maintaining and repairing roads, which have been used to link provincial truck traffic across to Michigan.
The federal government is investing another $7.5 million in this project, in addition to the $44 million that Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in 2009.
“Our government is working to enhance the safety and security of Canada’s border crossings, as well as investing in infrastructure improvements that will relieve traffic congestion and improve the flow of goods and passengers,” Riatt said. “We are taking action on this important border project, which will help to support Northern Ontario’s economy.”
The project involves expanding and redesigning the existing Canadian Port of Entry located within the bridge’s customs plaza and will include the construction of new Canada Border Services Agency commercial and travellers’ examination facilities. A new inspection lane for buses will also be incorporated as well as a duty free shop and a maintenance building.
This project is being funded through the $2.1-billion Gateways and Border Crossings Fund, which works to improve the flow of goods and people between Canada and the rest of the world and is a key element of the Building Canada infrastructure plan.