Enbridge selects contractors Barnard, CBNA for Great Lakes Tunnel construction

(UI) — Enbridge has retained a joint venture partnership between Barnard Construction Company Inc. (Barnard) and Civil and Building North America Inc. (CBNA), two industry-leading tunneling companies, to lead construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac.

Barnard, based in Bozeman, Montana, and CBNA, based in Miami, Florida, will work with Enbridge to build the tunnel for the State of Michigan. The Great Lakes Tunnel is being designed as a utility corridor to connect Michigan’s peninsulas. The tunnel will house the Line 5 pipeline as it crosses under the lakebed at the Straits to protect the Great Lakes and the environment and to ensure vital energy resources are delivered safely and reliably to the region. 

“This agreement with Barnard and CBNA marks a milestone for this historic project. The selection of these two world-class companies reinforces our commitment to safely building the Great Lakes Tunnel,” said Tom Schwartz, Senior Vice President Liquids Pipelines, Enbridge Strategic Projects and Partnerships. 

The contract was awarded following an extensive request for proposal (RFP) process that was initiated by Enbridge in early 2022. The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA), which is charged with oversight for construction and operations of the Great Lakes Tunnel agreed that the RFP conformed with requirements of the Tunnel Agreement. Financed solely by Enbridge, the Great Lakes Tunnel, once completed, will be owned and operated by the MSCA.

Barnard and CBNA will each retain a 50% partnership under the name Mackinac Straits Partners. Both companies have extensive tunnel related experience.

Combined, the companies have built more than 100 tunnels in 15 countries equaling more than 372 miles of tunnel.  A number of those projects involved geologic conditions similar to those that will exist in the Straits of Mackinac. 

Enbridge is preparing to begin construction as soon as possible following the receipt of environmental permits for the tunnel project from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps has indicated early 2026 for permit decision making.

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