On behalf of all the employees at Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, I offer my congratulations to Bridging North America. We look forward to working with you over the course of the coming months to conclude our contract negotiations.
Over the past few weeks, more than 60 individuals with experience in various disciplines including engineering, law and finance from WDBA, our partner agencies such as the Michigan Department of Transportation, Canada Border Services Agency, Customs and Border Protection, our Owner’s Engineer and other government have spent countless hours reviewing the technical and financial submissions from the three proponent teams.
Now let me tell you, this was no small undertaking. As I understand it, truck loads of boxes containing thousands of pages were delivered by the Proponents to our offices here in Windsor.
I know many of you have followed this project closely over the years.
Our road to select the Preferred Proponent started in mid-2015 with the issuance of the Request for Qualifications, or RFQ. Through this process, WDBA received six submissions for consideration. After thorough review three short-listed respondent teams were announced in 2016 and invited to participate in the Request for Proposals stage.
I have been told that over 2000 people from these Proponent teams worked tirelessly on their submissions to WDBA.
The procurement process was rigorous and overseen by an independent fairness monitor to ensure it is fair, open and transparent.
It is being carried out in a manner consistent with P3 best practices.
It has been run independently of political involvement or influence from WDBA’s Board of Directors or the International Authority.
We have left it up to our well-qualified team of experts to guide us here today and will continue to rely on their expertise throughout construction of this iconic piece of infrastructure, one that will transform the skyline of Windsor and Detroit.
The Bridging North America team is comprised of a consortia made up of Canadian, American and international firms including: ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Dragados Canada Inc.; Fluor Canada Ltd.; and others.
These firms have worked on some very substantial infrastructure projects - the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway in Windsor; New Champlain Bridge Corridor in Montreal; Autoroute 30 in Montreal; Eglinton Crosstown LRT in Toronto; Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) in Montreal; Automated People Mover at LAX Airport; Harbour Bridge and Tappan Zee Bridge in New York and San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge.
And now I would like to make an announcement many of you have been waiting for. I am very pleased to announce that the Bridging North America design will see the Gordie Howe International Bridge constructed as a cable-stayed bridge. The Gordie Howe International Bridge will have the longest main span of any cable-stayed bridge in North America at 853 metres with towers rivalling the height of the Renaissance Centre. This bridge will be a landmark structure for this region and across North America.
While we have announced Bridging North America as our Preferred Proponent, we still have some work to do.
Between now and the end of September, partnership details will be negotiated as part of the contract, including project cost and design. Once finalized, both WDBA and Bridging North America will be legally bound and obligated to our commitments.
Following the conclusion of negotiations – known as Financial Close – we will be ready for the main event that we have all been looking forward to .... the start of major construction.
Our momentum continues with the selection of Bridging North America as our Preferred Proponent.
We look forward to the completion of the negotiation process by the end of September and to the start of construction later this year.
I would like to ask two senior people representing Bridging North America: Alfonso Sanchez, Vice President Project Development, ACS Infrastructure Canada and Tom Middlebrook, Senior Vice President Business Development Canada, Dragados Canada, to help us unveil the design that everyone is waiting to see.