Aecon back on bridge to America project after failed Chinese takeover

Canadian contractor, Aecon Group, has been readmitted to the consortium selected to build, finance and operate a major new bridge between the US and Canada after it pulled out of the team amid a government review into the company’s takeover by a large state-owned Chinese firm.

When Aecon left the "Bridging North America" consortium in May, it gave the unusual reason of being too busy to take part in the project to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge from Windsor to Detroit, which was costed last month at just under US$2.7bn.

But after the Canadian government blocked the sale of Aecon to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), citing concerns over national security, Aecon applied to rejoin the consortium, which had been selected as "preferred proponent" in the public-private partnership in July.

Aecon’s request was approved "following thorough review" by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), the Canadian Crown corporation responsible for the project, Aecon said in announcing its return on 15 August.

It rejoins Spanish and American partners ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Dragados Canada Inc. and Fluor Canada.

According to reports in Canadian media, before CCCC’s takeover attempt was blocked, the Canadian government had decided that Aecon could not work on the bridge because of security concerns and opposition from the US government.

The topic did not arise in the statement of John M. Beck, Aecon’s president and chief executive, who said: "The Gordie Howe International Bridge project fits well into Aecon’s existing portfolio of projects.

"Given Aecon’s current resources, extensive involvement in the development of the proposal prior to its withdrawal and review of the final proposal, Aecon is pleased to be a part of the team to deliver this critical infrastructure project for the benefit of all stakeholders."

Image: Fluor’s rendering of the Gordie Howe Bridge (Fluor)

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