Dog Gets Job at Bridge Construction Site
As construction on the Gordie Howe International Bridge continues, workers are looking for all the help they can get, which is why a dog has been brought on for an important role.
According to the report from WXYZ Detroit, her name is Demon, but she is apparently only scary to birds—thus her new job: helping to keep them from nesting at the new bridge.
On a typical work day, Demon reportedly wakes up at 4:30 am and heads to the worksite of the bridge in Windsor, Ontario.
“It’s something different to see, it’s something nice. Everyone likes dogs," Nicole Soucie, the owner Kingsport Environmental Falconry, said.
“The primary issue that we have had is delays. So whenever we do have a nesting bird, we buffer off the area, people aren’t allowed to work in the area until the birds have fledged from the nest and we can remove it," Justin Kelly with Bridging North America said.
Given the proximity of the site to the Black Oaks Woods, nesting birds is a high probability, though bird nests on construction sites are a large issue for workers and the construction process. Soucie adds that Demon keeps all the geese, ducks and killdeers away.
“All we do is run her and she moves them along naturally to a new location," Soucie stated.
Demon is reportedly one of five dogs working on the site to keep birds away. She and the other dogs monitor the ground, while falcons work to scare off birds nesting up high.
“It’s the most economical and environmentally friendly thing to do, so there are lots of opportunities for these dogs," Soucie said.
According to the report, dogs like Demon can also be used to scare off nesting birds on golf courses, vineyards and airports.
Gordie Howe Bridge Background
First announced in 2015, the Gordie Howe International Bridge was expected to rival the height of Detroit’s tallest building and become the fifth longest bridge in North America.
According to the WDBA, the bridge project was first envisioned in 2008, after a traffic study begun in in 2000, to provide a safe, efficient and secure end-to-end border crossing system directly connecting Highway 401 in Windsor, Ontario and I-75 in Detroit. It was officially given the green light in the U.S. in April 2013.
In May 2017, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority said that it expected Phase Two prep work on the Canadian side to wrap up by mid-2018, and construction on the bridge itself to begin the following summer. At a meeting detailing the WDBA's past fiscal year, the authority announced it had spent $22 million acquiring properties in Detroit that are necessary for the bridge to come to fruition.
The WDBA announced that month that it had issued $86 million in contracts related to Phase Two of prep work at the Canadian port of entry for the bridge, which was planned to span the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. That work included removing transmission towers and relocating power transmission cables underground, in concrete-encased duct banks, the authority says. Other towers will simply be relocated.
Then in July 2018, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority announced that international consortium Bridging North America is its "preferred proponent" to design and build the Gordie Howe International Bridge, and that the group's design called for the longest cable-stayed main span in North America.
In October of the same year, construction on the Gordie Howe Bridge officially began, kicking off with a ceremony on Oct. 5, attended by both Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Both Snyder and Trudeau agreed that they would like to see the bridge completed more quickly than its current slated finish date of 2024, a date that is two years later than original estimates.
In January 2021, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments General Assembly hosted a meeting regarding the construction of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge project.
Canadian Consul General in Detroit, Joseph Comartin—a keynote speaker at the meeting—predicted that once the project is completed, the structure would be as iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge.
Then, in November 2022, a study conducted by financial analyst S&P Global Ratings showed that the completion date for the project had been pushed back to August 2025.
The report, obtained by the Windsor Star, cited construction delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues, but pointed to the largest area of concern as the design of the newly created interchange with the I-75 freeway on the Detroit side.
Finally, this month, it was announced that construction of the towers on the Gordie Howe International Bridge between the U.S. and Canada is approaching completion, as the last concrete pour for the sloped architectural heads at the top of the pylon head was reportedly now complete.
According to a news reports from The Windsor Star, the tower on the U.S. side of the bridge, in Detroit, has now reached its full height of 722 feet.