Canada Picks U.S., Spanish Firms as Top Bid for Detroit Bridge

(Bloomberg) -- Canada picked a consortium led by U.S. and Spanish construction firms as the front-runner to build a major new bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

A group including Madrid-based Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, Texas-based Fluor Corp. and California-based AECOM, or their subsidiaries, was announced Thursday as the “preferred” bidder for the project in the Detroit-Windsor corridor, a key artery for trade between the U.S. and Canada. The consortium initially included a Canadian construction giant, Aecon Group Inc., before it dropped out two months ago.

The Detroit-Windsor Bridge Authority, a Canadian government corporation, said key steps remain before construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge can begin. Financial details, cost and construction schedule, for example, are set to be released in September.

The bridge authority didn’t specify the value of the contract, though the project was previously estimated at roughly C$4 billion ($3 billion). The bid was selected over two others: one consortium led by Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and another that included Ottawa-based EllisDon Inc.

The winning consortium known as “Bridging North America,” includes AECOM, Canadian units of Fluor and ACS, RBC Dominion Securities Inc., DBi Services LLC and others. Aecon pulled out earlier this year, citing a heavy workload; Canada recently rejected a Chinese takeover of the construction firm.

“This is a project that successive governments of all stripes, on both sides of the border, have worked to achieve for many years,” Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in a statement. “The Government of Canada is committed to the successful completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.”

The Canadian government is financing the bridge, which is supported by Michigan’s governor and other public officials and will be owned jointly by the governments of Canada and Michigan.

The bridge faces opposition from the owners of the existing Ambassador Bridge, the border’s busiest crossing and a critical artery for truck traffic. That bridge’s private owners want to build their own new span, say the Canadian government is blocking them and are urging President Donald Trump to force the Gordie Howe bridge to use more U.S. steel by killing a waiver granted by Barack Obama.

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