(This article has been amended to reflect the latest updates from MTO)
After five years of construction, the Herb Gray Parkway, which links Highway 401 through Windsor to Brighton Beach — the site of the newly planned Gordie Howe International Bridge – will open to drivers this weekend.
Workers are putting the final touches on $1.4-billion, 11-kilometre border highway, which will be ready for traffic overnight Sunday, June 28. Drivers will be able to drive uninterrupted through the parkway without traffic signals – one of the key benefits of the redevelopment. Traffic will also be shifted away from ongoing construction on the final section of the parkway. The project is now 90 per cent complete, according to MTO.
Highway 401 traffic is expected to be fully shifted by early Monday morning, weather permitting. MTO asks all drivers be aware of the speed limit changes in the westbound section of Highway 401 and drive carefully in the transition to at-grade Highway 3 south of E.C. Row Expressway.
For the next few years the new below-grade highway will end at Ojibway Parkway until the new Detroit River bridge is completed in 2020. But in the interim drivers and cross-border truckers have the option of a highway route to bypass local traffic from the current end of Highway 401 through the busy Huron Church Road stretch.
There will be numerous new entry points to the parkway so drivers can bypass several stop lights and intersections.
Here are the details, according to The Star:
The first phase of the parkway opening to traffic will be a large stretch between North Talbot Road in Tecumseh and Labelle Street in South Windsor. Traffic heading westbound on Highway 401 into Windsor can anticipate travelling on three lanes to the area east of Huron Church Line where it will decrease to two lanes with one barricaded for now. The two lanes will then travel down to near the E.C. Row Expressway where there will be an off-ramp back to Huron Church Road.
The speed limit in the stretch between existing Highway 401 and Huron Church Line will be 80 km/h and the stretch between Huron Church Line and the Highway 3/Huron Church Road off-ramp will be 60 km/h.
For traffic heading eastbound out of the city toward Highway 401 there will be three lanes of traffic starting east of the Grand Marais Road tunnel right out of the city to the highway. The speed limit through this section will be 90 km/h up to Cousineau Road where the speed limit will increase to 100 km/h.
Traffic heading to the Ambassador Bridge west from Highway 401 must exit near E.C. Row back onto Huron Church. Traffic coming from the bridge will now have the option of getting off Huron Church, onto the parkway and Highway 401 just south of the expressway.
Drivers on Highway 3 and Huron Church Road may also see brief lane closures and traffic restrictions as final work is completed on the parkway. More information on the temporary closures will be shared over the next week, parkway officials said.
Two YouTube videos posted of the roadway show transitions between the at-grade and below-grade portions: