Despite the current economic recession, the Alberta construction industry accounts for approximately 10% of Alberta’s total employment and 10% of Alberta’s 2015 GDP, up 9.5% from 2005. In fact, total employment in the trades increased 1.4% from 2014 to 2015. Thus, in spite of Alberta’s economic downturn, work in the trades continues with construction on major projects in Edmonton and Calgary, not to mention the Fort McMurray fire rebuild. Alberta’s two major cities have quite a few major projects currently underway in the commercial, civil, and industrial sectors; here are five notable commercial and civil projects that have started construction in 2016:

1. Southwest Calgary Ring Road – Calgary, AB

A ring road designed to run from Sarcee Trail and Glenmore Trail in Calgary’s northend through to the Tsuu T’ina Nation, connecting with Highway 22X and Macleod Trail. Beginning with a 31km, six to eight lane freeway, the Southwest Calgary Ring Road will have 14 interchanges and three bridge structures spanning the Elbow River and Fish Creek. Construction commenced in July 2016 and will ramp up this fall, running an estimated cost of $1.9 billion and slated for completion in October 2021. The ring road may also attract further development in the Red Deer Lake area.

2. Northeast Transit Garage – Edmonton, AB

With earthworks currently underway, the City of Edmonton’s North East Parking Garage is a $186 million Edmonton Transit project, that is sure to create jobs during its three year construction schedule (completion is planned for early 2019). Located on Fort Road near Belvedere station and incorporating the historical Canada Packers smokestack in the design, this project covers an area equivalent to 10 football fields. A facility that will employ more than 700 transit workers and 300 buses, the North East Parking Garage will also include the ability to house electric buses. Showcasing an art piece made of topographic models of remote and uninhabited mountains that share Edmonton’s latitude, the garage will possess a modern design and will be named for Edmonton’s first female bus driver, Kathleen Andrews.

3. Seton Recreational Facility – Calgary, AB

A $127 million City of Calgary facility that will be operated by the YMCA, the Seton Recreational Facility will be 330,000 square feet and will include a water park, competition lane pool with an integrated dive tank, two ice rinks, three gymnasiums, a fitness centre, a 300 seat theatre, art space (studio, gallery, maker space), a child care centre, medical offices, multi-purpose rooms, and a 25,000 square foot library. Located in the heart of Calgary’s vibrant southeast side, the facility will serve as a community hub. The library alone will hold a large collection of learning and reading resources, and spaces for connection, collaboration, and discovery. Construction began in June 2016 and completion is scheduled for 2018.

4. Valley Line LRT – Edmonton, AB
Construction for Edmonton’s Valley Line LRT began on April 22, 2016 and has overcome hurdles and potential injunctions in order to continue as planned. Part of Edmonton’s LRT expansion plan, the low-floor Bombardier Flexity Freedom trains will comprise the urban Valley Line LRT which will run from Millwoods to Lewis Farms, crossing through downtown, replacing the Cloverdale Footbridge (a contentious issue for many neighbourhood residents). Underway, Phase 1 is the 13km, 12 stop line from Millwoods to downtown where it will connect with the Capital and Metro Lines; Phase 2 is from downtown to the west end. This $3.2 billion transit infrastructure project is scheduled for completion in 2020.

5. Charles Camsell Hospital Redevelopment – Edmonton, AB

Derelict, boarded up, covered in graffiti and an attraction for vagrants, the Inglewood community has been waiting over 20 years for this site to see redevelopment. With an estimated budget of $600 million, the Charles Camsell Hospital Redevelopment is finally underway and the $6 million job removing asbestos is complete. Construction begins with a 594 unit, $200 million housing complex complete with condo buildings and townhouses. Eventually, the site will also host single-family homes, two condo towers, and several four-story buildings.