- The city of Ottawa has revealed, the Ottawa Citizen reported, that SNC-Lavalin, the winner of the CA$663 million Canadian dollars (U.S. $501 million) Trillium Line light-rail extension project, did not meet the minimum required technical score but was awarded the project anyway. When including the long-term maintenance portion of the extension, the contract is worth CA$1.6 billion to SNC-Lavalin's project group, TransitNEXT.
- Ottawa City Manager Steve Kanellakos gave detailed bidder score information to city council members last week after some members expressed concern that the bidding process for the Trillium Line and other projects was not transparent enough and after a local media outlet reported that TransitNEXT had fallen short of the minimum score of 70%. In other areas of scoring, like financials, TransitNEXT scored higher than the two other bidders, Trillium Link and Trillium Extension Alliance.
- Kanellakos' memo said the city's executive steering committee went with TransitNEXT because it was within their discretion and because it would reduce the risk of legal challenges, although the memo didn't elaborate on what legal challenges would present themselves if TransitNEXT was not allowed to move forward in the bidding process.
The Trillium project is part of the CA$4.6 billion Stage 2 O-Train light-rail expansion. As of March, the project schedule had been stretched two years beyond its original date and costs exceeded the original budget by more than CA$1 billion. In addition to the city awarding the Trillium extension to SNC-Lavalin, it selected East West Connectors, a joint venture between Kiewit and French firm Vinci, to design, build, maintain and finance the CA$2.5 billion Confederation Line, a portion of the O-Train project that will see the construction of more than 17 miles of new track and 16 stations.
The Trillium contract includes the design, build, maintenance and financing of 7.5 miles of single and double track, a 2.5-mile spur, platform extensions, new stations and a yard maintenance/storage facility.
This is the latest bump for SNC-Lavalin in the last few weeks. The company withdrew from consideration for the $2.1 billion extension of the Vancouver SkyTrain light-rail system after announcing that it had suffered a CA$2.1 billion loss in the second quarter of 2019 and was not going to bid on future lump-sum turnkey construction contracts. Instead, the company said it will focus on other, more promising growth areas of its operations instead.