Gordie Howe bridge to cost $3.8 million to build; project to be completed by summer 2024

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Gordie Howe Bridge
Rendering of the Gordie Howe Bridge

The Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Windsor and Detroit will cost $3.8 billion to build and $1.9 billion to maintain over the 30-year concession life with the Bridging North America (BNA) consortium.

Construction will start imminently, and be completed in 74 months, or at the end of 2024.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) made the announcement on Sept. 28, confirming that it has signed a fixed-price contract to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the bridge. The WDBA said the contract’s overall $5.7 billion (nominal value), includes design-build and operation, maintenance, rehabilitation. BNA will receive progress payments during construction and a substantial completion payment at the end of construction.

BNA will also receive performance-based monthly payments for operations and maintenance over the 30-year concession (operating) period.

Overall, the builder expects to create 2,500 on-site jobs including direct hires, sub-contractors and seconded individuals.

“The project will be built to the highest standards of engineering incorporating sustainability, aesthetics and functionality,” WDBA chair Dwight Duncan said in a statement.

The 2.5 km cable stayed bridge, with a main span of 853 m., will be the longest in North America and one of the largest in the world. The project also includes the construction and maintenance of the Canadian port of entry (53 hectares) and the US port of entry (68 hectares) and work on the I-75 Highway to connect Detroit with the bridge.

The WDBA said that it received more than 230 suggestions in the past three years as the planning proceeded. The design appears to include a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists, and three lanes in each direction. There will also be green space equivalent to 25 football fields within the two entry portals.

The builder has been meeting with local companies, organizations and unions to discuss opportunities for partnerships. Representatives have also met with educational institutions to help develop the next generation of skilled trade workers.

ACS Group, through affiliates ACS Infrastructure (Iridium) and Dragados, along with Flour, each have a 40 per cent stake in the project. Aecon Group, which requested to rejoin the group after the Canadian government rejected its purchase from a Chinese-government owned construction company, has the BNA consortium’s remaining 20 per cent..

ACS says it has raised $1.033 billion in private funding, including long term (35-year) and medium term (20-year) bonds in the Canadian markets, underwritten by HSBC and RBC. Short term construction financing includes a bank loan syndicated by five institutions: Royal Bank of Canada, Desjardins du Quebec, TD Bank, Mizuho, and HSBC.
As well, consortium members have injected $93 million of private equity.

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