Chinese companies awarded $1.3bn Brazilian bridge after auction with only one bidder

A consortium of state-owned Chinese contractors has signed a public-private partnership deal to design, build and operate a 12.3km-long bridge across All Saints Bay in the central eastern state of Bahia, Brazil.

The bridge will connect the city of Salvador on the north side of the bay with the island of Itaparica on the south. The consortium is made up of China Communications Construction Company and China Railway 20 Bureau Group, a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation.

The contract was awarded following an auction held by the State of Bahia on the São Paulo stock exchange. However, the result was a foregone conclusion, since the Chinese consortium was the only bidder to have filed the necessary paperwork to participate, reports BNamericas.

The contract, which is likely to be signed officially in the first quarter of 2020, will require Bahia to pay $365m of the construction costs, and about $120m in annual fees to the Chinese team, depending on the rate of toll income.  

The consortium will have a year in which to design the project and another four to build it, after which it will operate the crossing for 30 years.

The scope of the works includes the construction of the bridge, which will be the second longest in Latin America after the Rio de Janeiro to Niterói crossing, as well as 4.6km of access roads in Salvador and a 21.4km expressway on Itaparica.

When complete, the bridge will offer drivers an alternative to the present hour-long ferry crossing or 100km detour around All Saints Bay.

Image: The Bay of All Saints (Secom Bahia/CC BY 2.0)

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