Local knowledge helps Crosslinx Transit Solutions to win $5.3 billion Eglington Crosstown LRT opportunity
GTA Construction Report staff writer
A consortium including some of Canada’s largest contractors has won the Eglington Crosstown LRT project, described as the largest public-private partnership (PPP) project in Canada’s history.
The Crosstown represents a $5.3 billion (2010) transit improvement investment – the largest in the history of the region, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) said in a news release.
The project’s scale has been controversial in Ontario’s design and construction community industry, as association and business leaders expressed concern about “bundling” and the possibility only large, multi-national foreign companies would be able to bid and win the work.
These fears have been allayed because the major Canadian contractors including Aecon, ACS Infrastructure Canada, EllisDon, and SNC-Lavalin joined forces as equal 25 per cent partners to form Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS), beating out another consortium, Crosstown Transit Partners, built on a largely foreign consortium including Fengate Capital Management Ltd., OHL Concesiones S.A., STRABAG Inc., Bechtel Development Company, Inc. and Obayashi Canada Holdings, Ltd.
The new consortium has already set up a website at http://www.crosslinxtransitsolutions.ca and has invited suppliers and sub-contractors to express interest in participating in the project. Infrastructure Ontario (IO) has been giving weight to “local knowledge” in evaluating competitive bids, and this presumably helped the Canadian-led consortium in the two-way race for the massive project.
CTS will be responsible for the design, build, finance, operation, and maintenance and lifecycle activities of the 19 km. line for a 30-year term. It includes 25 stations, an integrated system of track work, rolling stock, as well as signaling and communications infrastructure.
Financial close on the project is expected by summer 2015, with construction anticipated to start in the first quarter of 2016.
Separately, in November 2013, and as part of a 50/50 joint venture with ACS Dragados Canada, Aecon was awarded a $177 million tunneling contract by Metrolinx for the construction of a section of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
In addition, CTS will deliver a 22,500-sq. m. maintenance and storage facility at the western end of the LRT line; oversee the procurement and implementation of all systems, including the train control system; and construct third-party infrastructure for a number of local stakeholders, including the City of Toronto.
“The Eglinton Crosstown LRT project is a game-changer for the city of Toronto, one that will strengthen the region and improve the quality of life of thousands of commuters.” said Geoff Smith, EllisDon’s CEO and president.
“The new Eglinton Crosstown LRT supports our commitment to improve public transit service for commuters in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area,” Glen Murray, Ontario’s transportation and infrastructure minister, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) said in requiring contractors to maximize the use of registered apprentices, “young workers will have more opportunities to gain the skills required to successfully complete their training and enhance the competitiveness of the Ontario economy.”
“Local knowledge requirements will deliver economic benefits, community benefits and the expertise to keep this project on time and on budget,” said Sean Strickland, the OCS’s chief executive officer.