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