P3 Procurement

The Gordie Howe International Bridge project will be delivered through a public-private partnership (P3). A public-private partnership is a long-term performance-based approach to procuring public infrastructure where the private sector assumes a major share of the risks in terms of financing and construction and ensuring effective performance of the infrastructure, from design and planning, to long-term maintenance.

The P3 Model

A P3 is a co-operative venture between a public-sector entity and a private-sector partner for the provision of infrastructure or services. The partnership is built on the expertise of each partner that best meets clearly defined public needs, through the most appropriate allocation of resources, risks, and rewards.

The private sector partner is often a consortium of companies with different areas of expertise.

The benefits of a P3 include:

  • Risks are appropriately shared between the government and the private sector. For instance, cost overruns and delays to projects are shifted from the taxpayer to the private sector.
  • A ‘whole life’ approach is used in the delivery of the project with the private sector having responsibility for the design and delivery of the project and also the long-term operations and maintenance.
  • The private sector’s expertise, efficiencies and innovation are utilized in delivering large-scale infrastructure projects as specified by the public sector.
  • The private sector is paid only on performance, aligning financial incentives for on-time, on-budget delivery and for the achievement of performance standards during the useful life of the asset.

The Procurement Process

To select a private sector partner to deliver the project components – the Canadian and US Ports of Entry, the bridge and the interchange to Interstate 75 – Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) is running a rigorous and fair procurement process. The procurement process is made of two main stages – the Request for Qualifications and the Request for Proposals. WDBA’s procurement process is designed for WDBA to choose a private-sector partner with the skills, experiences and resources necessary to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

Stage 1: Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

The purpose of the RFQ is to pre-qualify teams to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. RFQ submissions were evaluated on the respondents’ demonstrated experience and qualifications to deliver and finance large and complex infrastructure projects. Only teams short-listed from this process were invited to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP).

During the RFQ phase WDBA held two introductory project meetings – one in Windsor, Ontario and one in Detroit, Michigan – for interested respondents. At the meetings, WDBA shared the scope of the requirements outlined in the RFQ. View the presentation.

WDBA also held Industry Days in Windsor and Detroit. Industry Days provided an opportunity for potential respondents to meet and network with local, regional and national contractors, suppliers and service providers. The Industry Days also provided the opportunity for local businesses to showcase themselves to potential private-sector Proponents on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

In addition, Public Information Meetings were held on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, in Windsor, Ontario and Wednesday, November 18, 2015, in Detroit, Michigan and provided an opportunity to learn more about the project, including how the procurement process to identify the private sector partner works and an overall project update. View more information about the meeting including all materials by visiting our Meetings and Events page.

Stage 2: Request for Proposals (RFP)

The RFP sets out the conditions and specifications required to undertake the project. It is issued to only pre-qualified Proponents selected through the RFQ stage who are asked to submit a formal proposal to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the project elements as identified in the RFP. Proponents will submit binding technical and financial proposals, including a fixed price and schedule. The RFP submissions will be rigorously evaluated and a preferred proponent will be selected. Subject to reaching Financial Close and to appropriate approvals, this team will become WDBA’s private sector partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. It is anticipated that the RFP stage will be 18 months in duration.

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) will host two Business-to-Business meetings to allow the region’s companies and organizations to meet with the Proponents participating in the Request for Proposals (RFP) process.

These meetings will provide an opportunity for local contractors, suppliers and service providers to network with the potential constructors and operators of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. It is anticipated that many local resources will be required from both Windsor-Essex and Detroit to deliver the project. In addition to jobs created during the construction phase, the new bridge will result in many permanent jobs for the future operation of the crossing. For more information on the Business-to-Business meetings, click here.

Fairness Monitor

To ensure the procurement process is rigorous, fair, open and transparent, a Fairness Monitor has been engaged. The Fairness Monitor will observe the process including sessions with Proponents and evaluation, provide advice as needed and report back to WDBA. The Fairness Monitor will have no role in the evaluation or selection process other than to monitor its compliance with the stated procedures and to ensure a fair opportunity for all qualifying Proponents to participate in the selection process.


The Request for Qualifications was issued on July 20, 2015.

The short-listed respondent teams were announced on January 20, 2016.

The issuance of the RFP to the Proponents was announced on November 10, 2016.