The Gordie Howe Bridge, just north of downtown Detroit has now been connected to Canada, officially. It's been an undertaking years in the making, and still won't open to travel until sometime next year.

It's a huge feat, and was met with applause from workers on either side of the border... but there was something odd about the beam used to connect both sides of the bridge when they placed it. Why was there a tree on it?

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The Gordie Howe Bridge has been under construction since June of 2018, so it's fitting that six years, to the month, the bridge sides finally met over the Detroit River, connecting with a steel beam.

But why was there a tree planted on the beam?

And just to get the first question and answer out of the way, NO... that tree will not stay there when the bridge officially opens.

So why put it there to begin with? Is it an international thing since the bridge connects two countries? Is it just a Michigan, or Canadian thing?

Turns out, no. It's a tradition that was started by ironworkers that continues to this day on most bridge projects. The process of connecting bridges, and placing an evergreen tree on the connecting beam is called "Topping Out" according to Iron workers, and is a symbol for the ironworkers that they have done a good job.

Of course, the biggest sign of NOT doing a good job, in this case, would be if for some reason, the beam couldn't be placed because someone's math was off. But clearly, that wasn't the case, and now, Michigan, and Canada are once again connected over water in Detroit.  

Hundreds of Ironworkers have worked on the bridge, representing Ironworkers 700 and Ironworkers Local 25 Unions. Once finished, it will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America - 2,800 feet - and will not only have six lanes for vehicle traffic, but also walking and cycling lanes.

All told, the full bridge structure will be about a mile and a half long from end to end.

The Gordie Howe Bridge should open sometime in September of 2025.

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