Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cintra's firm 'Gateway Mobility Partners' bids on toll bridge in Canada

Bridge builders’ race


By Jeff Nagel
The Surrey Leader (Canada)
Copyright 2007

Three groups of bidders have been shortlisted to expand the Port Mann Bridge and Highway 1 corridor, maintain the route and toll the twinned bridge when it opens in 2013.

International firms based in Europe and Australia with experience building infrastructure projects across the globe lead the groups the province has selected.

The three Victoria will now deal with, chosen from an earlier six, are:

- Connect BC Development Group, based in B.C. It includes Australian firm Macquarie Group, which runs 30 toll roads worldwide and is also working on the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion.

Also part of the bid is Transtoll Inc., which operates road toll systems on five continents.

- Gateway Mobility Partners, based in Austin, Texas. It’s made up of Spanish firm Cintra, which runs 23 toll highways, including Toronto’s Highway 407 (where it is a partner with Macquarie). Cintra’s partner is Skanska Infrastructure Development, of Sweden.

- Highway #1 Transportation Group, based in B.C. It includes German contractor Bilfinger Berger Group and toll road investor and operator Transurban Group.

The three are to file bids by spring, and the contract for the estimated $1.7-billion project to build the second span and widen 37 kilometres of Highway 1 is to be awarded by fall 2008.

The winner will finance the whole project and collect tolls for 35 years to recoup their construction and maintenance costs.

The assembled partners should give the transportation ministry a good set of choices, according to one industry observer.

“You’ve got all the major players there,” said Neil Gray, of the International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association. “It’s a very good mix.”

Absent from the preferred list was SNC Lavalin, a Canadian firm expected to bid. SNC is a partner in building the Canada Line.

© 2007 Surrey Leader

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