No work shortage for Ontario Roadbuilders
By Andrew Macklin
Feb. 11, 2015 – Unless there is a dramatic shift in political will in
Ontario over the next decade, roadbuilders in the province will have
plenty of opportunity for work in the coming years.
Feb. 11, 2015 – Unless there is a dramatic shift in political will in Ontario over the next decade, roadbuilders in the province will have plenty of opportunity for work in the coming years.
The Road Ahead, the phrase used as the title for this year’s Ontario Roadbuilders Association Convention & AGM, looks bright for the province’s road construction industry with growing budgets focusing on renewing aging infrastructure and building new transportation networks.
Presentations from the Ministry of Transportation, Infrastructure Ontario, Metrolinx, and several of Ontario’s largest municipality discussed the growing number of construction projects planned for this year, and outlined several major projects to be undertaken in the coming years.
At the provincial level, this year’s $3.113 billion budget includes $2.479 billion for highway construction and rehabilitation throughout Ontario. Approximately 36 per cent of that work will take place in the Central region, which represents the GTA corridor, with the rest of the work spread fairly evenly between the province’s four additional regions.
In the past, contractors had waited until well into the new year before being made aware of tenders, and receiving tenders, but the MTO has worked diligently to change that. As a result, 108 tenders for the 2015 construction will be made available before March 31st.
Infrastructure Ontario, for its part, lauded the use of Alternate Finance and Procurement (AFP), also referred to as P3s, for construction projects across Ontario. To date, 37 AFP projects have been completed in Ontario at a value of approximately $10 billion. Of those 37 projects, 36 were completed on budget and 27 were completed within 30 days of the original deadline.
On the municipal level, communities like Toronto and Hamilton are releasing long-term rehabilitation plans to help navigate the future cost of road and bridge improvements. Coupled with the work being done by Metrolinx to improve the entire transportation throughout the GTA corridor, the municipalities are being able to execute an effective road construction plan that meets community needs through strong municipal investment, as well as expanding and improving major routes to and from each city.
While the volume of short-term work is plentiful, throughout much of the province outside of the GTA as well, there was also some talk of long-term projects that will keep contractors busy for the next 10-15 years:
• Phase 2 of the expansion of Highway 407, to be completed in two phases, has a preferred bidder in place and final construction should be completed by the end of 2020
• The City of Toronto will implement its Gardiner Expressway Rehabilitation Project, a $1.5-$2.0 billion rehabilitation project that is in the planning stages
• An extension of Highway 427 in west Toronto from Highway 7 to Major Mackenzie Road, the tender for which should be available in 2016-2017
• The construction of a new Toronto by-pass highway, from the area of the Highway 401&407 intersection to King City. Route planning is to be completed by late 2015 or early 2016
With several multi-billion road construction projects in the pipeline, and municipalities continuing to commit significant funding to infrastructure development and rehabilitation, the future looks bright for Ontario roadbuilders.