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Project Profile: Gordie Howe International Bridge

Gordie Howe International Bridge

photo credit: Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Location

Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Program Areas

Project FinanceTolling and Pricing

Mode

Toll Bridge

Description

The Gordie Howe International Bridge is a six-lane crossing of the Detroit River connecting the City of Detroit with Windsor, Ontario. When completed, the 1.5-mile crossing will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America, with a main span of .53 mile. The bridge will also feature a nearly 12-feet-wide pedestrian/cycling path. The project also includes building new ports of entry that will connect to both the American and Canadian bridge termini, as well as onward connections to I-75 in southwest Detroit.

The new Canadian Port of Entry will be built on a 130-acre site and will be the largest Canadian port on the U.S.-Canadian border. It will include inbound border inspection facilities for both passenger and commercial vehicles, outbound inspection facilities, toll collection facilities, a maintenance facility, and parking. The U.S. Port of Entry will be developed on a 167-acre site and will be one of the largest border facilities in North America. It will include inbound border inspection facilities for both passenger and commercial vehicles, together with outbound inspection facilities, commercial exit control booths, and parking.

The Michigan Interchange with I-75 will include connecting ramps to and from the U.S. Port of Entry and associated local road improvements. In order to accommodate the new ramps to the Port of Entry, modifications will be required along nearly two miles of I-75. They will include over a dozen roadway and pedestrian bridges ranging from 100 to 1,700 feet.

The Windsor-Detroit Gateway - which currently includes the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel - is the busiest commercial land border crossing between Canada and the U.S. and is vital to the economies of Michigan and Ontario, as well as Canada and the United States. The Gordie Howe International Bridge will facilitate the movement of people, goods, and services and ensure that there is sufficient border crossing capacity to accommodate future growth in cross-border trade and traffic.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge is being developed by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), a not-for-profit Crown corporation created in 2012 that reports to the Canadian Parliament through the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. WDBA is wholly owned by the Government of Canada but is structured like a private company and operates independently from the government. WDBA is responsible for the delivery of the bridge, as well as construction oversight and the operation of the new crossing. WDBA will set toll rates on the bridge and collect all tolls.

The bridge is being implemented through a 36-year design-build-finance-operate-maintain availability payment concession. WDBA's payments to the private sector concessionaire, Bridging North America, are performance-based and can be withheld by WDBA if the agreed-to performance standards are not met. It is anticipated that of the $4.4 billion contract, $2.9 billion will be allocated for the design-build phase, including financing, and the remaining $1.5 billion for the operations-maintenance-rehabilitation phase including financing.

Cost

Project cost - $4.415 billion

Design-build contract - $2.68 billion

Note: The Gordie Howe International Bridge is financed in Canadian dollars. All cost figures presented in this profile are provided in U.S. dollars and have been calculated using an exchange rate of 1.291045.

Funding Sources

Government of Canada funding recouped by future toll revenues - construction progress payments, substantial completion payment, capital payments, and availability payments covering operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation over 36 years

Concessionaire's financing during construction

  • Construction Progress Payments from WDBA - $2.12 billion
  • Substantial Completion Payment from WDBA - $374.5 million
  • Excluded Design-Build Costs - $26.7 million
  • Capital Payments from WDBA - $29 million
  • Short-term Bank Debt (repaid by construction progress payments, capital payments, and equity) - $454.8 million
  • Medium-term Bonds - $121.7 million
  • Long-term Bonds - $224.1 million
  • Equity - $72.1 million
  • Interest - $0.1 million

In addition to the contract value, the Canadian Government spent $433 million between 2006 and March 31, 2018 on preparatory works and procurement.

Project Delivery / Contract Method Design-build-finance-maintain Availability Payment Concession (36 years)
Private Partner

Bridging North America - Concessionaire

  • ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc. (40%)
  • Fluor Canada Inc. (40%)
  • Aecon Concessions (20%)

Design-builder - Fluor Canada Ltd., Dragados Canada Inc., Aecon Infrastructure Management Inc.

Operations Maintenance and Rehabilitation (OMR) Contractor - Fluor Canada Ltd., Dragados Canada Inc., Aecon Infrastructure Management Inc.

Project Advisors / Consultants

To Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

  • Deloitte - Financial/Transaction Advisor
  • JC Rathbone Associates - Financial Advisor
  • Fasken - Legal Advisor
  • Warner Norcross and Judd - Legal Advisor
  • Parsons - General Engineering

To the Concessionaire

  • AECOM - Designer
  • RBC Dominion Securities Inc. - Financial Advisor
  • JC Rathbone Associates - Financial Advisor
  • Blake, Cassels & Graydon - Legal Advisor
  • Carlos Fernandez Casado and FHECOR Ingenieros Consultores, S.A. (CFC/FHECOR) - Bridge Design
  • Moriyama & Teshima - Bridge Design/Architect
  • Smith-Miller+Hawkinson - Architect
Lenders

HSBC - Joint lead arranger

Royal Bank of Canada - Joint lead arranger

Desjardins

Mizuho Bank

TD Bank Group

Duration / Status

Commercial close on September 28, 2018

Financial close on September 28, 2018

Construction began October 5, 2018

A 6-year construction period will be followed by a 30-year operation, maintenance and rehabilitation period

The bridge is scheduled to open by November 30, 2024

Financial Status

Closed

Innovations
  • It is estimated that the DBFOM availability payment concession procurement will result in a savings of approximately $470 million (10.7%) compared to a traditional procurement.
Related Links / Articles

Gordie Howe International Bridge Project Website

Gordie Howe Bridge Cost to Top $2.68 Billion (Crain's Detroit Business, August 29, 2018)

Contacts

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
Tel: (519) 946-3038
info@wdbridge.com

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