On July 30, 2020, the Ministère des Transports du Québec ("MTQ") announced that it had awarded a $1.142 billion design-build-finance contract to Renouveau La Fontaine Inc. for the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel and access roads rehabilitation project in Montréal. Commercial and financial closings occurred on July 14, 2020.
Renouveau La Fontaine Inc. is a 50-50 joint venture between France-based Vinci subsidiaries Eurovia and Dodin Campenon Bernard and Québec-based Pomerleau Inc.
Opened in 1967, the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel, beneath the Saint Lawrence River, is the longest underwater structure in Canada. It is a strategic transport corridor for the Montreal urban area, linking the eastern part of the Island of Montréal to the city of Longueuil. The tunnel carries 120,000 vehicles a day. The rehabilitation aims to improve to today's standards tunnel safety, optimise traffic and promote carsharing and public transport.
The project includes the design, build and financing of a fully refurbished tunnel, which will include the installation of a protective coating that will shield the structure from salt spray and tires. Additionally, it includes the modernization of operating systems, such as lighting, drainage systems, electrical systems and fire protection systems. Construction will take place from 2021 to 2025.
Gowling WLG advised both the MTQ and the Société québécoise des infrastructures with respect to the legal aspects of the RFP process for the project, and in the preparation and drafting of contractual documentation, including technical requirements. The Gowling WLG team was led by Luc Lissoir and included Nicolas Cayouette (technical review and drafting), Pierre Lissoir and Joey Suri (project documentation and translation), David B. Kierans and Rosalie Munger (financing), and Pierre Legault (insurance and dispute resolution), assisted by law clerks Jasmine Daneau, France Proulx and Sandra Commune.