SNC-Lavalin bows out of bidding on Edmonton LRT project

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WATCH ABOVE: Two of three teams short-listed to bid on the Valley Line west LRT project are no longer in the running after bowing out very early in the process. What does this mean when it comes to landing a competitive bid? Vinesh Pratap reports – Jul 24, 2019

Two of the short-listed consortiums in the running for Edmonton’s Valley Line West LRT project have withdrawn from the competition. SNC-Lavalin, which underwent a corporate restructuring on Monday, is one of them.

“We want to step back and reassess our options before the remainder of the procurement process,” said Bruce Ferguson, the city’s branch manager for LRT expansion and renewal.

On June 5, three groups were announced for the bidding to design, build and supply light rail vehicles, and partially finance the 14-kilometre stretch of LRT to Lewis Estates from downtown.

One of either Flatiron AECON Dragados Valley Line West Joint Venture or Urban Mobility Partners has also withdrawn because the composition of one of them has “had a change in the partnership arrangement,” Ferguson said.

“They chose to withdraw.”

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READ MORE: SNC-Lavalin one of 3 finalists for Edmonton’s west LRT contract

Asked to name the last group standing, Ferguson declined.

On Wednesday, Urban Mobility Partners was confirmed as the second company to withdraw its bid. The initial submission listed Urban Mobility Partners, with the following team members and guarantors: Eurovia Infra (with Carmacks Enterprises Ltd., I&S Mobility May Inc., and Rail Cantech Inc.) Graham Capital Partners LP (with Graham Infrastructure LP) Parsons Inc.

SNC was the second of the two to inform the city it was out based on their corporate restructuring.

“As a part of that, they’re withdrawing from bidding on all major lump-sum or turn-key projects, such as the Valley Line,” Ferguson confirmed. “So as a result of that, we did receive notice that they were withdrawing from the Valley Line West pursuit.”

Usually in a process like this, finalists in the bidding receive some sort of remuneration, however in this case it’s still too early.

“We hadn’t issued our Request for Proposals yet, so we’re in that time between the pre-qualification and the issuing of all of our technical documents. So they hadn’t started any work on the procurement itself, except to be pre-qualified.”

READ MORE: SNC-Lavalin will stand trial on criminal corruption charges, Quebec judge rules

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“It’s unfortunate,” Ferguson said. “I think SNC has a track record of delivering large-scale infrastructure projects.

“But it’s also not uncommon in pursuits like this to have teams either re-form or members of teams drop out for a variety of reasons. So we’re disappointed but we’re still very optimistic. There’s interest in the project and we just want to get it back out on the streets as quickly as we can.”

At this stage of procurement, the city does not anticipate it will affect the overall schedule for the project.

Ferguson said the original plan was to accept proposals in the next couple of months.

With this reassessment, the request for proposals will happen later this fall, however with work to move utilities already underway, Ferguson said the delay will not impact the planned construction time table.