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Finalists Named for US-Canada Bridge

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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Plans to construct the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, ON, are moving closer to fruition after the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) selected three teams of bid finalists.

The WDBA, which manages the procurement process for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the International Bridge, announced in a Jan. 20 statement that the “Short-Listed Respondents” include partnerships going by the names Legacy Link Partners, Bridging North America, and CanAm Gateway Partners.

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
Photos: Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority named three teams as finalists to submit proposals for construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, shown here in a conceptual rendering for the cable-stayed design option.

These teams now advance to the Request for Proposals stage of the WDBA’s public-private partnership procurement process to select a private-sector partner for the bridge project.

“This is yet another significant milestone towards the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge,” the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, responded in a separate statement.

“In the long-term, the new bridge will contribute to the economic growth and continued prosperity of both Canada and the United States,” he added.

A Look at the Finalists

“The Short-Listed Respondents represent the best in diverse international and local businesses,” Dwight Duncan, Interim Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the WDBA, said of the announcement.

“We look forward to the innovation, approaches and techniques these teams will bring to the table in response to the Request for Proposals.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, each team is made up of at least a dozen firms representing engineers, architects, contractors, financiers and other experts and includes some of the biggest public infrastructure companies.


Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, shown here during a site visit to bridge properties Dec. 17, said "the new bridge will contribute to the economic growth and continued prosperity of both Canada and the United States."

The Ottawa Citizen provided a breakdown of the consortiums.

Legacy Link Partners is composed of SNC Lavalin (Montreal, QC); Vinci Concessions (Rueil-Malmaison, France); American Bridge Company (Coraopolis, PA); and Amico Infrastructure (Oldcastle, ON).

Among their featured projects, SNC Lavalin names the Ontario Highway 407 and James Bay hydroelectric-power project; Vinci Concessions cites the current $1.9-billion Regina Bypass Project; and American Bridge Company includes the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing, Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, and George Washington Bridge.

Bridging North America includes ACS Infrastructure Canada (Toronto, ON); Fluor Canada (Calgary, AB); Dragados Canada (Toronto, ON); and DBI Services (Hazleton, PA).

Several of these companies were involved in the $1.4-billion Herb Gray Parkway project, the Citizen reports, and DBI Services is contracted for maintenance and repairs on the highway.

CanAm Gateway is made up of EllisDon Corporation (London, ON) and Bechtel Canada (Montreal, QC).

In addition to its involvement in many Canadian road and infrastructure projects, the paper said EllisDon served as lead company in the construction of the $80-million Windsor International Aquatic Centre.  Bechtel recently worked on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge near Seattle.

Proposal Process Phase 1

“With the Short-Listed Respondents named, WDBA is pleased to have concluded the first stage in the public-private partnership procurement process,” said Michael Cautillo, WDBA’s president and CEO.

After issuing its Request for Qualifications (RFQ) July 20, 2015, the WDBA received six responses from teams consisting of international and North American companies who prepared responses demonstrating their experience and qualifications to deliver and finance large and complex infrastructure projects. Submissions were collected Oct. 9.

All six responses underwent rigorous, objective, consensus-based evaluations and were considered to be qualified, the WDBA said. All respondents were required to comply with all applicable laws and Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Integrity Framework.

The RFQ evaluation, conducted by public- and private-sector experts, was overseen by an independent fairness monitor, who concluded that the evaluation was fair, open and transparent.

The three highest-scoring teams—the “Short-Listed Respondents”—are now invited to respond to the Request for Proposals, which will be issued “in the near term” per Cautillo, spelling out their plans to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the bridge.

The WDBA will announce a project winner by the end of 2016 so construction can begin in 2017. The bridge is scheduled to open to traffic by the end of 2020.

A Vision for the Bridge

Two designs are currently under consideration for the new bridge: a suspension bridge like the nearby privately owned Ambassador Bridge or a cable-stayed bridge.

The final design will be selected at the discretion of the architectural, engineering and construction team which secures the bid.

The new International Bridge is expected to rival the height of Detroit’s tallest building and become the fifth longest bridge in North America, as reported earlier.

The bridge’s towers are expected to rise to a height of 750 feet, making it just taller than the city’s Renaissance Center, which tops out at 740 feet. At about 150 feet above the water surface, the bridge deck will be high enough to allow passage of ships beneath it.

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

One of two design options, which includes the suspension bridge shown here in a conceptual rendering, will be selected at the discretion of the architectural, engineering and construction team which secures the bid.

The six-lane bridge will contain three Canada-bound lanes and three U.S.-bound lanes over the Detroit River. It will have a clear span of 2,788 feet across the river with no piers in the water. Two approach bridges (one on each side) will connect the main span to the Canadian Port of Entry and the U.S. Port of Entry.

The bridge and its approaches will span about two miles, making it one of the top five longest bridges on the continent. (The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in New Orleans, LA, tops the list as the longest continuous bridge passing over water.)

The WDBA also revealed that the bridge construction will require approximately half a million tons of concrete, about 22,000 tons of steel (which is specced to be made in the U.S. or Canada) and almost 5,000 tons of bridge cables.

The cost of the project was recently reported to have shot up to C$4.8 billion (US$3.41 billion)—an increase of more than $2 billion over original estimates, due to a weakening Canadian dollar.

About the WDBA

The WDBA is a not-for-profit Canadian Crown corporation created to manage the procurement process for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor, ON, and Detroit through a public-private partnership (P3). The WDBA is also responsible for project oversight.


Tagged categories: Bechtel; Bidding; Bridges; Contract awards; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Fluor Corporation; Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management

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