Preferred bidder picked for Rio-Niteroi concession

Ecorodovias will start assuming management of the southern hemisphere’s longest bridge at the beginning of June.

Ecorodovias Infraestrutura & Logica last Wednesday emerged as the preferred bidder for a concession contract to operate and maintain Brazil’s 8.25-mile President Costa e Silva Bridge bridge, the sixth-longest in the world and the longest in the southern hemisphere.

The awarded contract calls for R$1.3 billion ($400 million ; €366.9 million) in private investment, according to a report by state-run television station TV NBR. The investment would go toward infrastructure on both sides of the dual carriageway to improve traffic flow.

The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) will finance 50 percent of bridge works under the concession, according to a report in The Washington Post. Government estimates revenues generated by tolls to total R$5.1 billion over a 30-year period.

“Our proposal is in line with our commitment to good projects in the infrastructure sector. Performed with efficiency and effectiveness, we are confident of its success,” Marcelino Rafart de Seras, president of Ecorodovias Group, said in a statement. “We are proud to be able to start contributing to a state as relevant to the country as Rio de Janeiro.”

The bridge, which was completed in 1974 – almost 100 years after it was originally conceptualised – and recently featured in an explosive scene of the fifth instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise, connects the city of Rio de Janeiro to the municipality of Niterói.

Ecorodovias' bid at the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange on March 18 placed the toll at R$3.28, 36.7 percent lower than the government's concession toll ceiling of R$5.18 (original bids were based on 2014 values and adjusted for inflation).

Along with Ecorodovias, other bidding consortiums under consideration were Novo Guanabara, whose bid was the second-lowest at R$3.36; TPI-Triunfo Participacoes e Investimentos; CS Brasil Transportes de Passageiros e Servicos Ambientais; Infra Bertin Participacoes; and Consorcio Ponte, the latter of which is a consortium including current concessionaire CIIS and CCR, whose contract expires in two months.

Under current management, the bridge toll was R$4.90 at the end of 2014, and was set to raise to R$5.20 in August. Ponte proposed the highest toll of all bidders, at R$4.24.
According to the World Economic Forum's 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness report, Brazil's roads rank 122nd out of 144 nations surveyed.