The territorial government has identified three multi-national joint ventures to compete for a contract to design, build and maintain the Tlicho all-season road.
The joint ventures are led by companies that measure their annual revenues in the billions of dollars and have been involved in large construction all over the world.
They include 29 separate companies, with only two of them — NWT Construction and EGT Northwind — based in the Northwest Territories.
In January, the federal government conditionally agreed to pay up to 25 per cent of the estimated $150 million cost of building the road.
The joint venture that wins the contract will have to come up with the rest, then design, build, operate and maintain the road for about 29 years.
That includes the four years it’s expected to take to build it.
During that time, the territorial government would pay the winning joint venture’s costs, plus profit.
Two of the groups that qualified include companies based in France that would finance the project if their group wins the contract.
The two N.W.T. companies involved are part of the same joint venture, which is operating under the name Aurora Access Partners. The group includes Nuna Logistics, a company partly owned by the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.
Nine Alberta companies are partners in the three joint ventures, as well as six from Ontario and five from B.C.
One of the B.C. companies involved is Ruskin Construction, which was the main contractor for construction of the Deh Cho Bridge.
Because it is a P3 project, the territorial government is not providing any bidding advantage to companies based in the Northwest Territories, as it does for most projects under its Business Incentive Policy.
The three joint ventures now qualify to bid on a Request for Proposals to identify which will get the contract.
The government has not decided when it will issue the RFP, saying it will depend on when an environmental assessment of the project is completed.
A final assessment report is expected from the Mackenzie Valley Review Board in March.