The federal government gave a vote of confidence to SNC-Lavalin last week when it selected a consortia led by the company to build the new bridge over the St. Lawrence River in Montreal.
SNC-Lavalin is the lead member of the “Signature on the St. Lawrence Group,” one of three teams shortlisted for the design-build-finance-operate-maintain project which is a 3.4-kilometre crossing to replace the 1960s-era steel truss Champlain Bridge.
The consortia was selected over two others, said the Honourable Denis Lebel, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs, “because its proposal met all the technical criteria required for the project, and offered the best price possible for taxpayers.”
The new bridge will be immediately downstream from the existing bridge, and will connect from Ile-des-Seours to communities on the south shore. It will be a tripartite corridor, with a road section for vehicles, another section for a planned light-rail transit, and a third for pedestrians and cyclists.
A shorter bridge, not part of this contract, will complete the link, connecting Ile des Soeurs to a reconstructed Autoroute 15 on the Island of Montreal.
The government wants the new St. Lawrence Bridge to be a “world-class corridor” and earlier put in place a program to ensure that the architecture is worthy of its status as the “gateway to Montreal.” Arup engineers led the team that came up with the architectural concept, working with Dissing+Weitling and Provencher Roy, and an architectural review panel that included the City of Montreal, Heritage Montreal, the Order of Architects and the Order of Engineers (OIQ).
Now the SNC-Lavalin consortium will be responsible for the final design, “with some flexibility to choose construction materials and techniques.” The new main bridge will cost between $3 billion and $5 billion and is expected to create 30,000 jobs.
Reports in the media noted that SNC-Lavalin’s success in the bidding had been in question because the company is still facing charges over its activities in Libya related to the end of the Gaddafi regime.
In his announcement on April 17 of the selection of SNC-Lavalin, Minister of Infrastructure Denis Lebel, reassured the public: “The entire process was overseen by a Fairness Monitor who provided an independent opinion confirming the fairness, openness and transparency of the process. In additional, all business within Signature on the Saint-Lawrence Group were confirmed to be in compliance with the Public Works and Government Services Canada Integrity Framework.”
The Signature on the Saint-Lawrence consortium includes MMM Group and TY Lin International, International Bridge Technologies Canada, ACS, Hochtieff, Dragados and Flatiron.
The two other consortia that submitted proposals were the Saint-Laurent Alliance which included Kiewit, WSP, Buckland & Taylor, Parsons Brinckerhoff Halsall, Macquarie and Skanska; and the St. Lawrence New Bridge Partnership which included Hatch Mott MacDonald, Dessau (now Stantec), OHL, Acciona and Samsung.