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Ambassador Bridge

Detroit, Michigan - Windsor, Ontario

Ambassador Bridge

The Ambassador Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Detroit River, connecting Detroit, Michigan, with Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It is currently the largest international border crossing in North America, carrying more than 25 percent of all merchandise trade between the United States and Canada. Despite being an international crossing and vehicles crossing the bridge are, therefore, subject to customs restrictions on both sides, the bridge itself is privately owned and maintained by the Detroit International Bridge Company and the Canadian Transit Company.

trucks on Ambassador Bridge


Soon after World War I ended, New York civil engineer Charles Evan Fowler proposed the building of a bridge across the Detroit River that could carry cars, trains, street cars, and pedestrians, and organized the Canadian Transit Company and the American Transit Company to promote the project. Although he was able to secure support from both the Canadian and American governments, he was unable to secure financing for the project.

In 1924, the project was taken over by banker Joseph A. Bower, who purchased Fowler's stock options and then secured the financing Fowler had failed to obtain. By 1927 he had accumulated enough funds to sign a contract with an engineer to design and build the bridge. After getting the city of Windsor, Ontario, to approve its side of the bridge, he secured approval from the voters of Detroit for their side.

The Ambassador Bridge opened to traffic on November 15, 1929; at the time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It was named by Bower to "symbolize the visible expression of friendship of two peoples with like ideas and ideals."


Length from Entrance to Exit 9,200 feet

Length of Main Span 1,850 feet

Width of Roadway 47 feet

Maximum Height of Bridge above Water 152 feet


Official Ambassador Bridge Website

World War I

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The Robinson Library >> Technology >> Bridge Engineering >> Individual Bridges, A-Z

This page was last updated on November 14, 2017.