Lorneville bridge closes after structural failure

Some residents in New Brunswick say they feel the province may have put them at risk after the Lorneville Creek causeway suffered another structural failure this week. The bridge was just flagged for its poor state.

Causeway flagged by auditor general as one of the worst bridges in N.B.

A week after New Brunswick's auditor general published a list of provincial bridges in poor condition, one of the worst - the Lorneville causeway in Saint John - has been closed due to a structural failure. (CBC)

Some residents in New Brunswick say they feel the province may have put them at risk after the Lorneville Creek causeway suffered another structural failure this week. The failure comes just after the bridge was flagged for its poor state.

A pipe failure under the causeway opened a deep hole in the surface of the structure, severing the main link into Lorneville.

“It was just sort of the middle of the night that I think that happened. I know I got up in the morning and you know we had some barricades up,” said Bob Arnott.

The structure failure is inconvenient but not entirely unexpected.

The province has known it to be in bad shape for several years and its poor condition was highlighted just last week by New Brunswick's auditor general.

Kim MacPherson published a report on 293 bridge structures in New Brunswick and the Lorneville Creek bridge tied for the lowest score. It scored only one point on the province's 100 point rating system.

The auditor general stressed that it doesn’t mean the bridges are unsafe.

"That's shocking nobody was aware of that,” said Bob Arnott.

He said he’s upset the province rated the causeway so poorly but did nothing to fix it or warn residents about its condition.

“I think it’s terrible to know we've been driving over this every day and it’s been the worst bridge in the province, or worst causeway as we call it. How do you know someone wasn't coming across here? You're pretty much in the traffic lane right here if that had happened. That's pretty dreadful."

Long detour

The province said it's unsure if the causeway can be fixed this winter so it might have to wait until spring

Residents will have to use the back roads until it can be repaired.

Karen McCavour runs a lobster shop in Lorneville. She's within eyesight of the Lorneville wharf, but it's on the other side of the causeway turning a four minute round trip to the dock into a 30 minute detour on back roads.

"It's harder on the lobster,” she said. “Getting them to us they don't like cold and now they have to go the long way round.”

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