Champlain Bridge reaches commercial close

Construction of the $1.7bn project, awarded earlier this month, is expected to begin this summer.

Signature on the Saint-Laurent Group (SSL), the consortium that earlier this month was awarded the New Champlain Bridge Corridor project and of which SNC-Lavalin is a 50 percent partner, has finalised the design-build-finance-operate-maintain agreement for the project with the Canadian government.

SSL, whose other members include ACS Infrastructure Canada, Hochtief PPP Solutions North America and Dragados Canada, will operate and maintain the bridge until October 2049.

The consortium has also entered into a date-certain, fixed-price contract of approximately C$2.2 billion (€1.6 billion; $1.7 billion) with a construction joint venture in which SNC-Lavalin also owns a 50 percent share. The final price tag comes below the C$3 billion to C$5 billion total cost initially projected when the group was named preferred bidder earlier this year.

The project will replace the existing bridge in Québec, which is one of the busiest crossings in the country, according to a statement, with traffic ranging between 40 million and 60 million vehicles per year. It is also used by 11 million transit users annually, and is an important corridor for US-Canada trade, moving C$20 billion worth of goods annually.

The new bridge will not only connect Montréal – Canada’s second-largest city – to communities on the south shore of the St Lawrence River, but will also include a new smaller bridge for Îles-des-Soeurs (Nun’s Island), reconstruction of Autoroute 15 on Îles-des-Soeurs and reconstruction and widening of Autoroute 15 on the Island of Montréal.

Construction is set to begin this summer. The new bridge is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, while the remainder of the project is scheduled for completion a year later.

The procurement process was launched in March 2014 when the government of Canada issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). Last July, the government selected three of the six teams that had responded to proceed to the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage. SSL was named preferred bidder in April.

“We are happy to play a key role in delivering this signature infrastructure PPP [public-private partnership] project that is at the heart of Montréal’s transportation network and vital to Canada and Québec’s economic growth,” said Robert Card, SNC-Lavalin’s president and chief executive. “This project is especially meaningful to SNC-Lavalin as we have roots in Montréal going back over 100 years.”

Other projects SNC-Lavalin has been involved in in the Montréal area include the Maison Symphonique, the McGill University Health Centre Glen site, the Shriners Hospital for Children-Canada and the modernisation of Sainte-Justine Hospital.