Officials estimate new international bridge to open in 2024

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In this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 photo, workers clear land along West Jefferson Avenue and Schroeder Street in the Delray neighborhood in Detroit. The land will be used for a truck and customs plaza for the Gordie Howe International Bridge. Officials say a new timeline estimates that the new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, will be open in late 2024. (Max Ortiz/Detroit News via AP)

Officials now estimate that a new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, will open in late 2024.

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Construction starts next week on the Gordie Howe International Bridge, named after the late hockey legend.

Officials said Friday that a 36-year contract for the project includes $2.9 billion ($3.8 billion Canadian) to design and build the bridge, as well as about $1.5 billion ($1.9 billion Canadian) to operate and maintain it during that time.

Currently, the privately owned Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel are the only commuter crossings between the two cities. The Detroit-Windsor gateway is the busiest commercial border crossing in North America.

A groundbreaking for advance construction was held in July in Detroit. Officials earlier projected it could open as early as 2020, but that timeline hadn't been expected to hold.