Vinci Concessions has been named preferred bidder for the replacement and automation of 29 manually operated dams on the Aisne and Meuse rivers.
Voies Navigables de France (VNF), the French navigation authority, selected a consortium led by Vinci Concessions and also including SHEMA, part of French energy giant EDF. The consortium will replace 29 dams on the two rivers and install associated equipment in a project expected to see investment of some €270 million.
The contract, for a period of 30 years from signature, involves the design, financing and construction of 29 dams and associated equipment, followed by the operation of the dams and both routine and heavy maintenance.
The contract also covers the deconstruction of the dams to be replaced as well as the upgrade, operation and maintenance of the two dams that have already been automated. In addition, several of the dams are to be converted into micro-hydropower plants.
Construction, including studies and administrative processes, is expected to take less than seven years. The work will be undertaken by a construction joint venture led by Vinci Construction France and including local small and medium-sized enterprises. Operation and maintenance will be carried out by a “specially created entity” in which Vinci Concessions will have majority ownership.
The project is a key part of a plan to modernise all river infrastructure for which VNF is responsible, and will be required to meet environmental performance objectives.
The Aisne is a 290 kilometre (km)-long river in north-east France, while the Meuse is a 925km river that runs through France, Belgium and the Netherlands and into the North Sea.