With the return of spring comes construction, particularly in Fort McMurray where the wildfire rebuild is ramping up. The majority of the city’s new construction will be residential (2,579 homes were destroyed), but with 1,595 buildings and structures also obliterated in the wildfire, Fort McMurray can expect a construction boom this spring to rival the old oil sands frenzy. But the province’s top projects this year aren’t limited to the rebuild, they span the entire province creating job opportunities in every major centre as well as in remote areas. The top projects for 2017 in the Alberta construction industry are largely provincial and municipal infrastructure projects, with the NDP government committed to spending about $4.5 billion on infrastructure over the next four years.
- Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved Kinder Morgan’s $7.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion in November 2016. The Trans Mountain Pipeline was built in 1953 and the expansion will create a twinned pipeline, increasing the system’s capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. Construction includes 193km of reactivated pipeline, 12 new pump stations, 19 new tanks, and the capability to carry refined products, synthetic crude oils, light crude oils, and heavy crude oils. Throughout construction, the Trans Mountain Pipeline will create 15,000 jobs with 37,000 direct and indirect jobs created for the pipeline’s operation. Construction is slated to begin in September 2017.
- Valley Line LRT – Edmonton
Construction preparation for Edmonton’s $3.2 billion Valley Line LRT began in 2016 with construction now underway. A 27km low-floor, urban line, the Valley Line LRT will run from Mill Woods through downtown to Lewis Farms. Phase 1 of the project will build the 13km line from Mill Woods to downtown and includes 11 street level stops, an elevated station with 1,400 vehicle Park and Ride facility, the new Tawatina Bridge, a short tunnel from the north side of the North Saskatchewan river to the Quarters development downtown, and an interchange at Churchill Square. This year’s construction will include excavation in the Quarters area, removal of the Cloverdale footbridge, removal of the Harbin Gate, foundation work for the 98 Avenue overpass and Whitemud LRT bridge, and noise walls on 66 Street.
- Fort McMurray West Transmission Line
To meet the growing need for electricity in Northern Alberta, the $1.4 billion Fort McMurray West Transmission Line will create 500km of new transmission line, connecting the Sunnybrook Substation to an expanded Livock Substation, while also running northeast to the new Thickwood Hills Substation. Not only will this project meet the new power needs, but it will also bolster the network’s reliability. The project includes construction of a 100km long 500 kilovolt AC single circuit transmission line from Thickwood Hills to Livock and a 400km long 500 kilovolt AC single circuit transmission line from Sunnybrook to Wabamun. Construction began in March 2017 and is slated for completion by June 2019.
- Calgary Cancer Centre
The Calgary Cancer Centre is a $1.2 billion project that will provide world-class health care for cancer patients in southern Alberta. An addition to the Foothills Medical Centre site, the new facility will integrate cancer care with the hospital’s current services. The project is awaiting proposals from two construction firms with the contract award coming this spring. Once the proponent is selected, construction will begin before the year is out with completion planned for 2024. This investment in Alberta’s health care will not only better serve the province’s communities, but it will also create job opportunities in Calgary.
- Towerbirch Expansion Project
An expansion to TransCanada’s natural gas pipeline system, the $439 million Towerbirch Expansion project includes the construction of a 55km pipeline twinning the NGTL Groundbirch Mainline running through both Alberta and British Columbia. The project also includes four new meter stations and a meter station expansion. This project is expected to create up to 750 jobs throughout construction. Construction is planned to begin in April 2017.
These are a but a few of the province’s construction projects slated to begin this year, but they are the largest projects with promising job opportunities for Albertans. With the government’s investment in infrastructure, the anticipated economic recovery, the Fort McMurray rebuild, and the increasing (albeit slowly) price of oil, things are looking up for the Alberta economy.