- The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority has selected the team of Bridging North America to build the multi-billion-dollar Gordie Howe International Bridge between the U.S. and Canada, and the chosen consortium includes construction, design and engineering heavy hitters Fluor, AECOM, Turner Construction and ACS Infrastructure Canada. Estimates have bridge costs as high as $4.8 billion Canadian dollars ($3.7 billion).
- Bridging North America will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the cable-stayed bridge in its role as the private entity in the public-private partnership. The authority said it chose the team based on the following elements of the bid: project schedule management; design and build method; the bridge's estimated life; community benefits' operation, maintenance and rehabilitation strategy; quality and design control plan and the strength of the financing proposal. The authority added that the selection and evaluation of each team's bid was carried out by experts and overseen by independent monitors in the interest of fairness.
- The authority expects financial close by the end of September, and, in the meantime, will negotiate the contract's details with Bridging North America. After financial close and the official awarding of the contract, the authority will announce the expected cost, schedule and design elements. The bridge will consist of six lanes in an effort to create redundancy at the border and ensure the free flow of trade between the U.S. and Canada.
One of the partners in Bridging North America, Canadian infrastructure powerhouse Aecon Group, pulled out a few months ago, according to Bloomberg. Aecon made the news when in May the Canadian government blocked China Communications Construction Co. International's $1.1 billion purchase of the company, citing national security concerns.
But there has also been some drama on the U.S. side of the planned bridge from the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, which will surely be faced with competition in the future from the Gordie Howe. The Moroun family has thrown legal challenges at the authority in the past trying to prevent or delay bridge construction and has most recently asked President Donald Trump to revoke the "Buy American" exemption granted to the Canadian government for purchases of steel used in construction of the Gordie Howe.
The exemption was granted back in 2012 by the Federal Highway Administration. Canada is financing $650 million of Detroit's share of the costs and allowing the city to repay the amount via tolls, which likely played a major role in the agency's decision. The Morouns maintain that the exemption violates the president's America First policies.
Correction: In a previous version of this story, Aecon subsidiaries were named as part of the winning Bridging North America team. All remaining Aecon entities pulled out of the project bidding before the contract was awarded.