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Dutch contractor HBG vies for Fraser River Crossing project

Peter Kiewits leads consortium

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LANGLEY, BC - The North American subsidiary of Dutch construction giant HBG (Holland Beton Group) is partner in one of the three consortiums bidding to build the proposed Fraser River Crossing in this community just east of Vancouver. The consortium also involves as major partner Nebraska-based Peter Kiewit and Sons, and eleven other companies. The bridge will be built for Translink, the transportation authority of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).

The estimated cost of the new six-lane toll bridge is US$455 million. Expected to be completed by 2007, it will connect Langley, south of the river, and Maple Ridge to the north. The crossing is expected to ease congestion on the inadequate Port Mann Bridge about seven kilometres west of the proposed bridge. Access to the existing bridge now often resembles a congested parking lot.

Colorado-based HBG Flatiron specializes in transportation and major civil projects, such as highways, bridges, toll roads and light rail transit. The Dutch-owned company has been involved in such recent building projects as the Carquinez Bridge in San Francisco’s Bay Area, a bridge in South Carolina, and a California toll road. HBG Flatiron also widened BC’s Port Mann Bridge in recent years.

Toll bridge

Consortium leader Peter Kiewit and Sons traces its history to 1884, when Peter and Andrew Kiewit formed Kiewit Brothers, an Omaha masonry contracting partnership. They were sons of a Dutch-American brick maker, who had moved to the Nebraska city a few years earlier. Since the 1980s, Kiewit’s Canadian subsidiary has been the main contractor for the Skytrain light rail transport system in Greater Vancouver.

The succesful bidder will design and build the new Fraser River Crossing, and operate and maintain it for 20 years. The recent decision to build the toll bridge ended years of controversy over plans to provide a link. Cars could be charged between $2.50 and $3.00 per crossing. In the 1970s, the province built a new four-lane bridge connecting the Fraser Valley communities Abbotsford and Mission, next to a railway crossing which until then accommodated other traffic. It since then added another crossing connecting Surrey/Delta with New Westmin-ster/Burnaby. The GVRD now is responsible for the area’s transportation infrastructure.