The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority has requested bid proposals from three companies to finance, design, build and operate the estimated $2.1 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge, Crain's Detroit Business reported. The original deadline for the project is still 2020, but onlookers said the lack of completed land acquisitions could push that date back.
The finalists are the joint ventures of Bridging North America, CanAm Gateway Partners and Legacy Link Partners, which include major AEC firms Bechtel, AECOM, Barton Malow, Fluor Canada and Turner Construction, among others. Bridge officials estimate the proposal process will take approximately 18 months.
The project is considered an upgrade from the existing Ambassador Bridge, over which 31% of the truck-based trade traffic between the U.S. and Canada flows. The new bridge will feature modern border crossing points, expanded highway connections and six lanes to accommodate future traffic.
Whichever team wins the project will operate under a public-private partnership with the bridge authority and will collect toll revenue through a multi-year concession deal. This will provide a hefty sum for the winner, as an estimated 2.5 million cargo trucks cross there annually, Crain's reported.
In August, Detroit businessman Manuel Mouron, the private owner of the Ambassador Bridge, was preparing to take on the Michigan Department of Transportation over a 42-acre parcel of land he owns that is needed to complete the new bridge. Mouron has been a vocal critic of the new bridge, and he is slated to lose out on toll revenue when the newer bridge opens.
The city could seize Mouron's land using its eminent domain powers, if necessary. However, the dispute is just one of roughly 30 land deals that MDOT must settle before construction can begin. All in all, the state will have paid $370 million for bridge land acquisitions in order to complete the bridge.