Three consortiums have been short-listed for a contract to design and build the $1.6bn Windsor-Essex Parkway project in Ontario, Canada.

The 9km six-lane road, which has 11 tunnels, will connect Highway 401 in Windsor to Interstate 75 in Detroit, Michigan.

The Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Transportation said it will launch a final request for proposals in December, select the bidder after two months and finalise the contract after a couple of months.

Work is expected to begin by the end of 2010.

The group will win the contract to design, build and finance the road as well as maintain it for 25 years after construction.

The publicly owned, road will be a toll-free.