Spanish firm involved in some of BC’s biggest infrastructure projects

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The consortium of engineering and construction firms that the province chose as the preferred bidder to design and build eight stations on the $4-billion Surrey SkyTrain extension includes Acciona Infrastructure Canada, the same firm involved in Metro Vancouver’s exploding-budget North Shore wastewater treatment plant.

What went wrong to turn the North Shore project into a $3.86-billion debacle from a $700-million project when Acciona was hired to build it in 2017 is subject to a series of lawsuits.

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Acciona, however, already had a substantial footprint in B.C. as the lead or a participant in consortiums building infrastructure projects ranging from the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria to major civil works of B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam.

It was subsequently awarded work on the province’s Pattullo Bridge replacement and the SkyTrain Broadway extension before being terminated in 2021 from the North Shore wastewater project.

On Friday, South Fraser Station Partners, the consortium that includes Aecon Constructors, Acciona Infrastructure Canada, Pomerleau B.C. and AECOM Canada, was unveiled as the preferred bidder to negotiate a final contract to build stations for the SkyTrain Surrey extension.

The ministry of transportation said the province “follows best practices in procurement, supported by Infrastructure B.C., to ensure stringent competitive selection processes.”

“We undertook a robust due diligence process to select proponents best able to meet requirements of this project,” the ministry’s unattributed statement said.

No one from Acciona was available for an interview Tuesday, but in a statement, a representative said the company “has a proud history of building major infrastructure across Canada and employing thousands of Canadian workers over the past several decades.”

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On the station construction project, one half of the $4-billion SkyTrain extension, Acciona’s representative said, “We look forward to bringing our local and global expertise to deliver this important project for British Columbia.”

Other projects that involve Acciona:

Broadway subway

Acciona, as part of a consortium with a Canadian subsidiary of the Italian infrastructure firm Ghella, was awarded a $1.73-billion contract to design, build and partly finance the 5.7-kilometre Broadway subway extension of SkyTrain’s Millennium line in September of 2020. A five-week strike by concrete workers in the summer of 2022 delayed the start of tunnel boring on the project and pushed the project’s completion date from 2025 into early 2026.

Pattullo Bridge

Acciona, as the lead proponent in Fraser Crossing Partners along with Aecon Constructors, was awarded a $968-million contract to complete the main work in building a new four-lane crossing of the Fraser River between New Westminster and Surrey to replace the 90-year-old Pattullo Bridge.

Site C

An Acciona subsidiary was included in a consortium along with Samsung C&T Canada that B.C. Hydro, in 2015, awarded a $1.75-billion contract for main civil works on the dam project. What was an $8.3-billion project when launched, however, saw costs nearly double to $16 billion.

Royal Jubilee Hospital

Acciona was part of the team awarded a contract in 2008 to build the new $283-million, 500-bed Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, which opened in 2010.

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Metro Vancouver waste water treatment plant in North Vancouver. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

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