Overview

The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway is the result of extensive community consultation and technical and environmental studies. Following the 2004 Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study, Ontario’s most comprehensive environmental assessment was conducted, and the Parkway was approved as a necessary solution to address community needs and transportation goals. On August 21, 2009, the DRIC Environmental Assessment received the required Order in Council (OIC).

The Parkway is the access road portion of the new end-to-end border transportation system at Canada’s busiest land border crossing and premier trade corridor. The system, which will ultimately include the Parkway, a Canadian inspection plaza, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, a U.S. inspection plaza and a U.S. interchange, links Windsor to Detroit and connects Highway 401 to the U.S. Interstate system for the first time.

Click on the following links for more information about:

A photo of the area prior to Parkway construction
A photo of the area prior to Parkway construction
A photo of the Parkway after project completion
A photo of the Parkway after construction has been completed

Parkway Features

The Parkway is unprecedented in terms of its combination of community and environment as well as transportation features.

Community and Environmental Features:

  • community connections
  • more than 300 acres of green space
  • approximately 17 km of  recreational trails 
  • measures to reduce noise
  • extensive landscaping
  • special measures to protect wildlife
  • linkages for wildlife

Transportation Features:

  • 11 km in length
  • 11 tunnels covering 1.8 km of freeway
  • 15 bridges
  • new urban six-lane freeway
  • new parallel four-lane service road network
  • below ground (below-grade) freeway
  • complete lighting
  • stormwater management facilities
  • advanced traffic management system
Aerial photograph of the Parkway from Summer 2017

Project Delivery History

Since 2005, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has worked with local municipalities, other provincial ministries, the Canadian federal government, and agencies to improve the Windsor-Detroit gateway. The Parkway is the first Ontario transportation project to be delivered with an alternative financing and procurement (AFP) model – a public-private partnership delivery model managed by Infrastructure Ontario and MTO. The AFP model provides the public sector an opportunity to transfer project risks to the private sector. The private sector then commits to delivering projects on time and on budget. MTO and Infrastructure Ontario work together to oversee, monitor and assess the works delivered by the private sector partner ensuring compliance with the contract project agreement and adherence with highway construction and safety standards.

For more information on AFP please visit http://www.infrastructureontario.ca/en/.

Following a rigorous procurement process, the Windsor Essex Mobility Group (WEMG) was selected to design, build, finance and maintain the Parkway. On December 17, 2010, Infrastructure Ontario and MTO announced that WEMG reached financial close and signed a fixed-price contract with the Province. The value of the contract to WEMG is approximately $1.4 billion in 2010 dollars. Over the 30-year life of the contract, the total future payments will add up to approximately $2.2 billion. As part of this contract, WEMG is responsible for maintaining not only the road networks but the Parkway green space and trails as well.  

WEMG is a consortium of ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Acciona Concessions Canada, and Fluor Canada Ltd. Parkway Infrastructure Constructors (PIC) was under contract to WEMG to design and construct the Parkway. PIC was a joint venture of Fluor Canada Ltd., Dragados Canada Inc. and Acciona Infrastructures Canada Inc

Aerial photograph of the Parkway from Summer 2017

Operations and Maintenance  

The operation and maintenance of the Parkway, including its associated green space and trails, and this website are the contractual responsibility of WEMG.  WEMG has retained DBi Services and Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions  as OM&R Works Providers. This stage of the project will continue to be overseen by MTO through 2035.

For specific inquiries contact us or call 1-844-570-9999.

Chronology

The attached document presents the history of the Parkway beginning in May 2008 with its original vision until it’s opening and current operation.

Naming

On November 28, 2012, the Windsor-Essex Parkway was named after one of Windsor’s most popular politicians – the Right Honourable Herb Gray. The Rt. Hon. Gray represented Windsor as a member of parliament for an unprecedented 13 consecutive terms. During his career, he served as minister for numerous federal departments, Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of the International Joint Commission. Rt. Hon. Gray was bestowed the title “Right Honourable” by the Governor General on January 15, 2002. Naming the Parkway after the Right Honourable Herb Gray is a fitting tribute. The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway will service a major trade gateway between Canada and the U.S. – a relationship Rt. Hon. Gray strengthened with his service.

Environment

Windsor-Essex’s unique and sensitive natural environment has been incorporated into the Parkway’s design which showcases how large-scale infrastructure and public uses can co-exist with local plant and animal habitat. To learn more about the Parkway’s environment, visit our Environment page.