WDBA awards $61M contract to oversee Gordie Howe bridge construction

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

CBC News

Global construction and engineering firm promises to hire local workers

A $61-million contract to oversee the design and construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge has been awarded to a global firm with its Canadian head office in Markham, Ont.

It's the first contract awarded for the actual construction phase of the project.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority announced Parsons Inc. has been selected for the role of "Owner's Engineer" — a role that requires the company to act as a liaison between the bridge company and whatever firm is selected to actually build the bridge.

"Essentially what they're doing is they will carry out reviews of the work that is being completed by the private sector partner to make sure that they're in conformance with the project agreement that we signed," explained WDBA spokesperson Mark Butler.

Butler added the WDBA has spent $350 million on preparatory work so far, but the agreement with Parsons is the first contract for the "design-build" phase of the bridge.

"What this contract demonstrates is that we are getting ready," he said. "It's a very important step in readying [the] Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority for the actual construction phase of the bridge which will begin later this year."

Parsons was granted the contract now, so its staff will have time to prepare for the anticipated June announcement of the company that will actually carry out construction.

Firm hires local workers

The firm has been working with the bridge authority already, according to project manager Bruce Campbell, who has been leading Parsons's prep work on the U.S. and Canadian ports of entry.

"We're really excited that they're taking the next step," he said. "It certainly is a big milestone and when you're knee-deep in a project of this complexity and nature sometimes you forget to step back and ... look at the big picture, so this is kind of a point where we can do that."

Parsons has made an effort to hire area workers, an initiative Campbell said will continue with this new contract.

"We'll be hiring local folks here as well as continuing with much of our local staff."