The B.C. Ministry of Transportation issued a Request for Proposals earlier this year and has short-listed three groups to design, build, finance and operate the $600 million Sea-to-Sky Highway upgrade.
Each of the proponent teams is comprised of firms with experience in constructing highways in mountainous terrain while continuing to keep the highway open for the travelling public, according to a press release from the province. Each firm also has experience working in B.C.
The short-listed consortiums are:
Black Tusk Highway Group
S2S Transportation Group
Sound Highway Development Consortium
The ministry and other experts in highway design are now evaluating these companies and their proposals. The process will ultimately lead to a contract with one proponent team to build and then maintain the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project for 25 years.
The director of the design and build process, Richard Fyfe, said it was an important time for the project.
"Im really excited by the quality of the people involved and also by the local businesses; weve got some combinations of the very best people," said Fyfe.
The three short-listed groups have spent two years preparing for the final selection and Fyfe confirmed the companies that miss out will be refunded some money.
"There is a stipend on the RFP, which is $1.5 million, so the companies will have access to that," he said.
"But the best thing about this process is we (the Ministry of Transportation) will also own their designs, so if they come up with any innovative concepts in their design we will effectively get the benefits of three proposals."
The highway is scheduled for completion by fall 2009. It is expected to result in 30 per cent fewer accidents each year.
In related news, construction of a test section of the Sea to Sky Highway between Montizambert Creek and Strip Creek was completed this summer, while Peter Kiewit Sons Co. have started further construction north of the Cheakamus Canyon.
Kiewit Sons Co. was awarded a $39 million contract to widen seven kilometres of Highway 99 to four lanes, from Ansell Place to the southern limit of the Village of Lions Bay, and a $4.3 million contract to complete preparatory work between Cheakamus Canyon and Daisy Channel.
These upgrades are expected to be complete by the summer of 2007.