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Alberta government says hundreds of transportation projects creating thousands of jobs

Click to play video 'More than $1B spent on Alberta highways and bridges' More than $1B spent on Alberta highways and bridges
WATCH ABOVE: More than $1 billion has been put into Alberta highway and bridge projects this year. As Tom Vernon explains, the province feels it's money well spent – Oct 31, 2017

As winter approaches, road construction crews are wrapping up projects across Alberta and it’s been a busy season.

The province says there have been about 350 highway, road, bridge and water projects worth $1.4 billion during the 2017-2018 season.

In order to get the projects started and completed, the province has had to borrow billions of dollars, but the Transportation Minister Brian Mason says it’s worth it.

“Our plan is creating more than 7,500 jobs across Alberta, that’s more than 4,400 good-paying construction jobs and more than 3,100 indirect jobs.”

READ MORE: Federal and provincial governments commit $500M to Alberta highway projects

The transportation projects are part of Alberta’s economic recovery, Mason says.

“Alberta now has the fastest-growing economy in Canada with 49,000 jobs created in the last year. We are once again on track to become an economic powerhouse in this country and our government is beside Albertans all the way to make sure that happens,” Mason said.

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“These investments in essential infrastructure have helped at a time when a lot of companies are still feeling pain from the economic downturn and sharp reductions and work for the residential and industrial development sectors,” said Ron Glen, CEO of Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association.

READ MORE: Minister ‘pleased’ about $1B infrastructure boost for Alberta, Saskatchewan

The province says the projects will relieve congestion on highways, connect communities, enhance major trade corridors, provide clean water and support flood prevention.

“As of late October, more than 320 of 349 planned 2017/2018 road, bridge and water management infrastructure projects have been tendered,” Mason said. “Two-hundred-twenty of these are expected to be completed by the end of this fiscal year.”

The transportation minister says it’s a 59 per cent increase in completed projects from two years ago when the budget was 33 per cent higher.

READ MORE: Construction delays continue on Calgary ring road, appeal to be heard in October

Some of the major construction projects include a fourth southbound lane on QEII from 41 Avenue SW in Edmonton, the Highway 2 and Gaetz Avenue interchange in Red Deer and the southwest Calgary ring road.

The NDP government’s $29.5-billion Capital Plan includes more than $5 billion over four years for highway improvements, bridge construction, road rehabilitation and water infrastructure projects.

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Mason said after the four-year plan comes to an end next year, the government will “re-evaluate.”