Energy, transport top list of infrastructure projects

OTTAWA, CANADA - The energy and transportation sectors are on top of a new ranking of Canada's biggest infrastructure projects for 2009 that estimates $61 billion in public and private capital investments will soon be pumped into the country's economy for construction.

The ranking of the top 100 infrastructure projects, obtained by Canwest News Service, shows a wide-range of multimillion- and multibillion-dollar projects, with more than a third scheduled to be completed in 2009.

A proposed $6.5-billion Hydro-Quebec power-generating complex on the Romaine River north of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is the biggest project in the list. The ranking will be published by ReNew Canada, an infrastructure magazine.

The maintenance and refurbishing of the Bruce Power nuclear complexes in Kincardine, Ont., on Lake Huron, are next on the list with an estimated $5.25 billion in capital spending, followed by another Hydro-Quebec project, estimated at $5 billion, on the Rupert River near James Bay.

Mira Shenker, the editor of ReNew Canada, said the list provides a glimpse of Canada's massive infrastructure gap. Shenker said there are many projects that won't make it onto a list that already includes $61 billion in estimated spending.

"There's so much more that either is going on or needs to be going on and so much more capital that needs to be poured into infrastructure renewal," she said in an interview.

The $2.63-billion expansion of the Toronto subway system stands at No. 4 on the list, followed by construction of a new $2-billion Enbridge Inc. pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin.

A $2-billion rapid transit line in Vancouver stands at No. 6.

Overall, Alberta had the most projects in the top 25, followed by British Columbia. Ontario also had the most projects overall, with 41, including 15 hospital or health-care facility expansions.

Shenker said that B.C. probably appears to be getting more large projects compared to its ranking in previous years because of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in 2010. She added that some other provinces in the eastern part of the country are also spending massive amounts on individual projects to fix crumbling roads and bridges.

"They're not flashy, and they wouldn't make a list like this, but they're certainly important, (and) maybe more important in some ways," she said.

Canadian municipalities have estimated they need at least $123 billion to bring their existing infrastructure, including roads, sewers and public transit, up to acceptable levels.

The list was the fourth edition of the top 100 ranking produced by ReNew Canada and Colbourne Communications following consultations with industry stakeholders.


1) Romaine Hydroelectric Complex Project: A construction project to build four new Hydro Quebec generating stations with a total capacity of about 1,500 megawatts in a region north of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The environmental assessment was referred to a panel, but construction was slated to begin in mid-2009, lasting about 10 years. Capital cost: $6.5 billion.

2) Bruce A Nuclear Generating Station Restart: Major maintenance and refurbishing to restart units at nuclear power station on the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario. Capital cost: $5.25 billion.

3) Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert Project: New Hydro Quebec project expected to generate 893 megawatts of power, enough electricity for half a million homes. Construction is scheduled to finish by 2012. Capital cost: $5 billion.

4) Spadina Subway Extension: An expansion of the Toronto subway system, adding six new stations over a 8.6-kilometre span underground. Construction is slated to begin in April 2009, and slated for completion in 2015. Capital cost: $2.63 billion.

5) Alberta Clipper Project: New 1,600-kilometre pipeline owned by Enbridge that would run from Alberta to Wisconsin. The project is expected to be completed in 2009. Capital cost: $2 billion.

6) Canada Line: A 20-kilometre North-South rapid transit line in Vancouver, scheduled for completion in 2009. Capital cost: $2 billion.

7) Port Mann/Highway 1 Project: Construction to widen a 37-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway linking Vancouver with the rest of British Columbia, including the replacement of a major bridge crossing over the Fraser River. Capital cost: $1.6 billion.

8) Keephills 3 Generating Plant: EPCOR and TransAlta will build and operate this coal-fired power plant in Alberta that is expected to be more efficient and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than existing plants that are expected to close in 2010. Capital cost: $1.6 billion.

9) Autoroute 30: A long-awaited beltway around Montreal. Two sections of the highway remain to be completed, including one section that will be operated as a public-private partnership. Capital cost: $1.5 billion.

10) Edmonton Ring Road, Anthony Henday Drive N.W.: Construction of this route is expected to be completed in the fall of 2011. It includes a 21-kilometre stretch of road with four to six lanes and 29 bridge structures. Capital cost: $1.42 billion.


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