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Preferred bidder selected for multi-billion Montreal bridge

The new Champlain Bridge, forecast to cost up to $4.1bn, is expected to open in 2018.

The Canadian government has selected a consortium led by SNC Lavalin to build the new Champlain Bridge in Montreal.

The Quebec-based developer is to team up with Spanish counterparts ACS Infrastructures and Germany’s Hochtief to carry out the project, the cost of which has been estimated at between C$3billion ( €2.3 billion; $2.5 billion) and C$5 billion.

The exact cost will be disclosed when contracts are signed in July.

The new bridge will connect Canada’s second-largest city to communities on the south shore of the St Lawrence River. Construction is expected to start this summer, with the structure due to open in December 2018.
The winning consortium is responsible for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the facility.

It trumped bidding finalists St Lawrence New Bridge Partnership – which included Spain’s OHL and Acciona as well as Dutch fund manager DIF – and the Saint Laurent Alliance, which counted Macquarie Group, Kiewit and Skanska as members.

SNC Lavalin is currently the focus of a criminal investigation involving its dealings in Libya between 2001 and 2010, after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police charged the group with fraud and corruption.

Observers had raised concerns that the government should refrain from awarding a contract to a company that could face a 10-year ban on bidding for public contracts if convicted.