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The Bridging North America consortium that includes AECOM and Fluor Canada was selected as the preferred proponent to build and operate the Gordie Howe International Bridge, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority announced Thursday.

Construction of the $2-billion bridge is expected to begin later this year.

The bridge consortium, which also includes ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc. and Dragados Canada Inc., beat out two competitors: a group headed by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and another that included EllisDon Inc.

Aecon Group Inc. was initially part of the winning bidder but pulled out in May as it was undergoing a federal review about a proposed takeover by a Chinese state-owned company that was ultimately blocked by the Canadian government.

Even before the takeover by China Communications Construction Company was rejected, the federal government had reportedly decided that Aecon couldn’t work on the bridge for security reasons and opposition from the U.S. administration.

“The Gordie Howe International Bridge will support economic growth by improving connections between Canada and the U.S., enabling the continuous flow of people and goods through a safe, secure and efficient Windsor-Detroit trade corridor,” Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in a statement.

The six-lane span that will be an alternative to the busy Ambassador Bridge is important for the vital trade corridor that is the busiest between the two countries, said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

He said the bridge financed by Canada will create thousands of jobs in the state.

“It greatly enhances our supply chain and will create economic opportunities and growth in ways many people have not yet fully realized,” he stated.

Bridging North America’s plan for the bridge calls for a six-lane, 2.5-kilometre cable-stayed design.

The bridge authority said it still needs to negotiate the final contract details.

The cost of the project, design details and expected construction schedule are expected to be announced once the contract has been awarded and signed in September.

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