Campobello bridge safety questioned
The mayor of Campobello is raising concerns about the safety of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Bridge that links the New Brunswick island to the state of Maine.
Stephen Smart wants some answers about the condition of the bridge which is the only permanent link between the island and the mainland. Smart described the bridge as a "lifeline" and said now that it's starting to shift, residents are starting to worry.
"It's not 'I'd rather not cross it', it's, 'we have to cross that bridge.' So you kind of have to run on faith a little bit. But we haven't had any, like I said, nothing official yet, but the rumour mill is churning away and we know there are some concerns." Smart said.
Campobello is a small island in the Bay of Fundy and Smart said the strong tides and salt water have taken their toll on the bridge, which is nearly 50 years old.
"The expansion joints don't look the same as they used to; the teeth are kind of together...things that used to be lined up very straight and parallel to each other are now binding."
The international bridge is the only year-round link to the mainland for the approximately 1,000 residents of Campobello Island. Privately operated ferries run between July and September.
"Our only gas station is the United States, all medical services, emergency medical services have to travel through the United States as well as police protection services...so the bridge, to us, is more than a budgetary issue," Smart said.
The bridge is jointly owned by Canada and the United States and he said neither side has done significant work on it since the 1960s.
Smart said engineers from the Maine Department of Transportation have been testing the bridge in recent weeks and have installed motion sensors. He's disappointed that officials with the New Brunswick Transportation Department have been tight-lipped.
"The Canadian side, the only comment we've got is 'We know that it is moving,' but they wouldn't go much further than that....It's just not knowing and not being offered the information is a little bit unnerving."
Transportation Minister Claude Williams told CBC News there's no need for concern.
"There has been no recent movement. So this is definitely good news," Williams said.
Williams added that officials are continuing to monitor the situation and expect to have repair designs completed soon. He said the extent of the work needed will determine how quickly it will get done.