After months of deliberation, and decades of anticipation for Kingston’s “third crossing,” the city has chosen the winning bid from the company that will build the long-awaited bridge.
On Wednesday, the city announced that Kiewit, a North American construction company based out of Nebraska with offices in the United States, Canada and Mexico, will be taking charge of the project. Kiewit will be partnering with Hatch, a Canadian engineering company, to complete the design of the new bridge, which will connect Gore Road on the east end of the city to John Counter Boulevard in the west.
Mayor Bryan Paterson said of the seven bids for the bridge, Kiewit stood out due to their track record, as well as their promise to build the bridge for less than the city’s $180-million budget.
“Certainly there was a financial aspect,” said Paterson, but the mayor added that it was Kiewit’s overall reputation that really impressed the city. “It’s the credibility, it’s the track record. Knowing that a company like Kiewit has worked on bridge projects that are much larger than the third crossing. It certainly gives us that confidence that we have a team with the expertise to make sure that everything is going to run smoothly.”
Paterson mentioned Greater Vancouver’s Port Mann Bridge as an example of a recent Kiewit development, a $3.3-billion project the company finished in 2015.
Kiewit’s Project Director, Mark Mallett says he is confident they can deliver what the city is looking for. “We are a world-class bridge construction design and construction company, we understand both aspects of bringing the project together and getting the most efficient solutions.”
As for when construction on the bridge will begin, Mayor Paterson said that Kiewit will start putting the finishing touches on the final design right away and that Kingstonians will start to see some work on western shore on Cataraqui River starting mid- to late-2019. The bridge is meant to be finished by 2022.
Paterson also assured that all levels of funding are still secured for the project and that the equal commitments from federal, provincial and municipal governments of $60 million are set in stone.
Although there were seven bids, Kiewit beat out two other shortlisted contenders, Canadian companies Graham Construction and Pomerleau. The four other companies that did not make the cut were Chandos, Dragados Canada, EllisDon and Astaldi Canada.
Mark Van Buren, the city’s deputy commissioner, says choosing a team of Kiewit’s calibre to construct the bridge is a very significant milestone for the city.
“They had all the right ingredients to deliver on time and on budget,” said Van Buren. Of those ingredients, the deputy commissioner says this company has already done the legwork to involve key players in the project. “They are even engaging with some of the project’s key stakeholders, like Parks Canada and the indigenous communities.”
Van Buren also mentioned that Kiewit’s bid offered the opportunity to find efficiencies in the design and construction of the bridge that may make the construction cost come under the $180-million budget.
The bridge work is expected to create about 200 jobs, and both the city and the builder say they expect to hire as many local jobs when it comes to building the 1.1-kilometre crossing.