Preferred bidder in highway 407 project imminent

A preferred bidder for a 50-kilometre extension of the 407 Express Toll Route in Ontario is expected by the spring. Infrastructure Ontario drew up a shortlist for the $1bn project in March.

A preferred bidder for a project to expand 407 Express Toll Route (407 ETR) in Ontario, Canada, should be named in the early spring, according to Paulette den Elzen, spokeswoman with Infrastructure Ontario (IO).

The 407 East Development Group, a consortium teaming Cintra Infraestructuras, SNC-Lavalin Group and Intoll Group are the reported first-ranked bidder, but den Elzen denied IO has selected a preferred bidder, or begun to negotiate an exclusive contract for the $1 billion toll road public private partnership (PPP). She went on to explain IO is planning to announce a commercial as well as a financial close in the spring.

Cintra, SNC-Lavalin and Intoll together operate 407 ETR under a 99-year concession. The team paid $3.1 billion to lease the highway in 1999. The toll road is the first-ever to use electronic tolling. SNC-Lavalin, the publicly-traded engineering concern headquartered in Montreal, is a 16.77 percent stakeholder in the highway, with Cintra holding 42.3 percent and Intoll, the former Macquarie Infrastructure Group, controlling a 30 percent stake.

In 2010, the government of Ontario decided to approve a 50-kilometre extension of 407 ETR via the so-called Highway 407 East project.  A successful bidder had been projected to be named by early 2012, with the extended roadway still slated for a 2015 opening.

In addition to the 407 East Development Group, IO in November shortlisted 407 Green Link Partners, which teamed Macquarie Group, Bilfinger Berger, AECON Group, Fengate Capital Management and Kiewit Corporation. IO, a “crown corporation” controlled by the government of Ontario, also shortlisted 407 East Development Partners, which consisted of Borealis Infrastructure, Global Via Infraestructuras and OHL Concesiones.

Each consortium had been shortlisted by IO in March.