DETROIT (WWJ) – The new year brings a new list of “to-do’s” for the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority — as they look to make the start of construction of a second international bridge a reality including making deals with area residents for the sale of their homes.

Mark Butler is Director of Communications with the Bridge Authority.

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“So number one, what we have to do, we have to select the private sector partner – this is the person that’s going to build the bridge and the plazas,” said Butler. “We certainly have to accumulate the balance of the land on the U.S. side and during that process we want to start looking at the design of both the bridge and the plazas and how it’s going to intersect.”

The Detroit-Windsor border is the busiest commercial land border in North America, already handling roughly 25 percent of all trade between Canada and the United States.

“We’re going to be needing somebody’s who has experience in building a bridge but also people with experience with building inspection plazas and stationary buildings,” said Butler. “The final design of the bridge and the inspection plazas hasn’t been determined yet but this is the type of thing we are looking at.”

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Reaching purchase deals with Delray residents is an ongoing struggle between lifelong residents and the corporate interests of the new bridge owners.

Will Newman owns two homes in the Delray neighborhood:

“We’re ready to get it done and over with,” said Newman, adding the offer so far for his properties is “nowhere near” where it needs to be to sell.

“It would bring jobs but the thing is how are they going to handle the contamination matters that will arise – are we going to have people who care for us?” asked resident Odelia Ovilenda.

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The estimated cost of construction for the new Gordie Howe International Bridge project is $2.1 billion with construction set to begin in 2017.