Detroit-Windsor Tunnel / Bob's last night before the Army
Tunnel, modified by the artist
This wild trip to Canada and Detroit and back again through Ontario and via the strange Superhighway of the Future, 407ETR -- Bob's Unsupervised Drinking Gourd Tour -- has filled my mind with so much that I am hopelessly behind writing about it, but at the same time accumulating images I want to post and talk about.
But before I explode or implode, here is an image, a strange, faded old postcard of The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. The Tunnel specifically was one of the places I planned to visit on the way to see my army buddy Ron.
Neither of us seemed particularly happy to have been drafted in the army during the Vietnam War, but Ron expressed some surprise when I told him that the night before I was drafted, I was looking down into the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. But didn't go through. But now, 37 years later, I was going to take this opportunity specifically to drive through the dinky little tunnel, which, I think like 407ETR, is a private for-profit corporation.
Whoops -- no it's not. The Tunnel is jointly owned by the cities of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.
I wrote back to Ron:
Bob's Previous Visit to THE DETROIT-WINDSOR TUNNEL ...
I was hanging with my high school sweetie in Berkeley when the date for my induction approached. There was Big Family Trouble and basically I'd run away from home to get my rents off my back. My intention was to drive home to DC to get drafted. I certainly wasn't politically warm toward the war. But throughout history, Trouble At Home has always been the Recruiter's Best Friend.
Two years in the Army during a big war looked better to me than dealing with my family just then.
When it was time to drive home, I looked on the UC-Berkeley Ride Board to see if I could get some company and gas sharing money, and hooked up with a woman who was going home to Detroit. It was right after her exams.
She was nice and helped the long trip pass, but otherwise very unmemorable -- I can't even remember her name. But I drove her home, they were happy to let me get some sleep on their basement couch, and then I was off to get drafted.
Somehow my hunt for the highway took me to the entrance to the Windsor Tunnel, I guess around 10pm. I parked across the street from the entrance and got out of the car and looked at it while I had a smoke. I don't think I was super-seriously thinking of going to Canada; the only reason I was at the border was just the accident of taking the girl home to Detroit.
But I did stare down that tunnel for about ten minutes, and thought about this and that. Then I got back in the car and drove back to DC and got there in time to get on the bus to Fort Holabird in Baltimore, where the physical and the induction took place.
Ever since those days, when I think of Canada, I think of Trudeau letting us draft guys sneak in, stay and work, and eventually become citizens. And I think very warmly of Canada, and love to visit all over the place, and I always feel happy and comfortable.
I'm just glad I can choose when I want to go, and I'm glad I can come back. As I thought about this and that at the Windsor Tunnel, I was just really ripshit that violent psychos were trying to chase me out of my own country, and I just refused to let that happen.
Detroit–Windsor Tunnel Carries
2 lanes connecting I-375/M-10 & Highway 3B
Crosses Detroit River
Locale Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario
Total length 5,160 feet (1,573 m)
Width 22 ft (6.7 m)
Vertical clearance 13 ft 2 in (4 m)
AADT 28,000 per day
Opening date 1930
The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is a highway tunnel connecting Detroit, Michigan in the United States, with Windsor, Ontario in Canada. It was completed in 1930.
It is the second busiest crossing between the United States and Canada after the nearby Ambassador Bridge. About 28,000 vehicles use the tunnel each day. The structure is jointly owned by the two cities.
It was only the third underwater vehicular tunnel constructed in the U.S. (after the Holland Tunnel between Jersey City, New Jersey and downtown Manhattan, New York City, New York and the Posey Tube between Oakland and Alameda, California).
Its creation was prompted by the opening of cross-border rail freight tunnels including the St. Clair Tunnel between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario and the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel between Detroit and Windsor.
The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel was constructed of sections of steel tube floated into place and sunk into a trench dug in the river bottom. The river section of the tunnel was connected to bored tunnels on both banks. The tubes were then covered over in the trench by 4 to 20 feet (1.2 m to 6.1 m) of mud. Because the tunnel essentially sits on the river bottom, there is a wide no-anchor zone enforced on river traffic.
The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is 120 feet short of a mile at 5,160 feet long (1,573 m). At its lowest point, the two-lane roadway is 75 feet (22.8 m) below the river surface.
* Detroit & Windsor Tunnel Corporation - official website
* Detroit News archives: The Building of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel