US$3 billion Canada-USA bridge PPP reaches financial close

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US$3 billion Canada-USA bridge PPP reaches financial close

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Bridging North America (BNA), a consortium comprised of Fluor, Aecon and ACS Group, through its affiliates ACS Infrastructure (Iridium) and Dragados, has closed financing for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, valued at over CAD3.8 billion (US$2.94 billion).

The project involves the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of new international bridge between Windsor (Ontario, Canada) and Detroit (Michigan, United States), as well as the ports of entry at each side of the border. 

A total CAD1.033 billion (US$800 million) of the total investment are privately funded. BNA has issued long-term (35-year) and medium-term (20-year) bonds in the Canadian markets, which have both been rated A- by Standard & Poors and jointly underwritten by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and HSBC.

The consortium has secured short-term financing to cover the construction period including a bank loan syndicated by five institutions: RBC, Desjardins du Quebec, TD Bank, Mizuho and HSBC.

The financial close also entails the injection of CAD93 million (US$72 million) of private equity by the consortium members at the end of the construction period. Until then, this finance is guaranteed through letters of credit. Fluor, Aecon and ACS each hold 40%-20%-40% equity interests in the consortium.

This financing will enable BNA to deliver a six-lane (three per direction), 2.5km cable stayed bridge. Crossing the Detroit River, the bridge's 853m main span will be the longest in North America and one of the largest in the world. The Canadian and US ports of entry will span 53 and 68 hectares, respectively. The scope of work includes all the buildings required to control vehicles and pedestrians crossing the border.

The consortium will also construct a new interchange on the I-75 Highway that will connects Detroit to the bridge.

The project was awarded to BNA in July 2018. At that time, the consortium consisted only of ACS' subsidiaries and Fluor, as Aecon withdrew from the tender process in May, before final proposals were submitted. As  reported on this platform, the company announced that it was rejoining BNA in August, following the approval of the contracting authority, the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority.

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