Tishman Construction Management Program (TCMP) students and faculty attended a site visit at the Gordie Howe International Bridge Project on Friday, March 31. This is a $4.3 billion U.S. ($5.7 billion Canadian) public-private partnership project linking the United States and Canada at Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario.
During the half-day visit sponsored by the Beavers Heavy Engineering Construction Association, students and faculty met with the project team and learned about the three main components of the project: the Gordie Howe Bridge, the U.S. Port of Entry facilities and the interchange in Detroit connecting the bridge to I-75. The group then visited the location of each of these projects and learned about design and construction challenges, as well the progress to date. The day began with an overview of the project. Following the briefing, students embarked on the site tour. Everyone then returned to the briefing point for lunch and a discussion of the project.
The Gordie Howe International Bridge partnership is responsible for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the Ports of Entry and cable-stayed bridge, and the design, construction and financing of the Michigan Interchange. Once completed, the project is expected to deliver much-needed transportation improvements for international travelers. It will include a six-lane cable-stayed bridge with a clear span of 2,800 feet–making it the longest main-stay of any cable-stayed bridge in North America–using no piers in the water. The project also will feature a multi-use path to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
“It was undoubtedly a great opportunity to visit such a unique and once-in-a-lifetime project,” said Professor and John L. Tishman Construction Management Faculty Scholar Carol Menassa. “The students learned about how complex construction projects can get and experienced construction engineering and management at its best. The project involved different parties including two countries (the U.S. and Canada) and several project components each with their own design and construction challenges. All of these require a multidisciplinary team of designers, construction managers and workforce to implement the project with the least disturbance to the surrounding communities and the environment. The diversity of the project team and roles helped the students to think about their future careers and potential paths they can follow. The visit also allowed the students to network with U-M CEE alums currently working on this project and to meet fellow students from Purdue and Notre Dame.”
“Our students particularly enjoyed interacting with TCMP alumni who are now working in key engineering and management positions in the project and are responsible for significant portions of the work,” added Vineet Kamat, the John L. Tishman Family Professor of Construction Management and Sustainability. “It is always empowering for students to interact with role models and learn of their stories so they can put possibilities for their own careers into perspective. We are particularly grateful to Dave Woods and the Beavers for organizing this field visit and for sponsoring the Beavers Scholarship at Michigan.”
The Beavers Heavy Engineering Construction Association hosts a student day twice a year for civil engineering and construction management students and faculty members from colleges and universities where The Beavers provide academic scholarships.