A partnership involving U.S. and Canadian businesses is seeking to turn a former railway bridge at Niagara Falls linking the two countries into a truck-only cross-border gateway.

"Looking ahead five years, we see the day when a dedicated three-lane roadway over the former railway bridge will expedite truck traffic and alleviate growing congestion," said William Truesdale Jr., president of Whirlpool International Truck Bridge (U.S.A.) Inc. (WITB).

Along with a related Canadian company, WITB has agreed to purchase the bridge from the Canada Southern Railway Company (CASO) for roughly $11 million. The Canadian National Railway Company and the Canadian Pacific Railway jointly own CASO.

The same six investors own WITB (U.S.A.) and WITB (Canada). They have diverse backgrounds in the construction, transportation, customs and immigration fields as well as in cross-border brokerage and government relations.

The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge immediately to the north of the former CASO bridge is owned by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and is not involved in the sale. There is no commercial or corporate relationship between the two bridges or their owners.

The proposed $220-million redevelopment of the bridge and approaches is expected to take five years, including public and regulatory review and approval prior to the construction phase. The purchase is expected to close next year.