British Columbia drops Port Mann concession

The Canadian province will procure the toll bridge as a design-build contract after it failed to reach agreement with a Macquarie-led consortium on debt terms for a C$3.3bn concession. Procured as a design-build, the project will cost the province C$2.5bn.

The Canadian province of British Columbia has dropped plans to procure the Port Mann bridge as a concession after it failed to reach agreement with a Macquarie-led consortium, Connect BC Development Group, on the debt terms for the project.

The province will put out separate contracts for the operation and maintenance of the bridge in place of the 25-year maintenance and operation concession Connect BC had been awarded in August 2008.

Port Mann
bridge project

Peter Kiewit Sons  and Flatiron Constructors, the construction and engineering providers in the Macquarie consortium, will now contract directly with British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to design and build the 10-lane toll bridge over the Fraser River near Vancouver and carry out related highway improvements totalling 37 kilometers.

Procurement as a design-build will cost the province C$2.46 billion (€1.5 billion; $1.92 billion). Procurement as a concession was estimated to cost C$3.3 billion, but that figure included the design, construction, maintenance and operation costs for the project over the life of the concession. The province agreed in principle to provide about one-third of that amount.

Macquarie had reportedly tried to close a C$2.3 billion loan package for the project but its banking partners were unable to syndicate the debt. When agreement could not be reached, Partnerships BC, the province’s advisor, recommended the concession be dropped and the project be procured as a design-build. Macquarie will be retained as an advisor on the project.

The Port Mann bridge project, part of the Gateway Program for metro Vancouver transportation projects that British Columbia launched in 2005, has been in procurement for several years. It remains on schedule for 2013 completion, according to the province.