Heavy rains over the summer have put the Harbour Bridge repair project a full month behind schedule. (CBC)

Motorists in Saint John will have to endure traffic tie-ups on the Harbour Bridge until at least the end of November.

The project was slated for completion this fall, but Department of Transportation officials blame rain delays this summer.

Construction has closed the eastbound lanes of the bridge, diverting all traffic to the westbound lanes.

CBC meteorologist Peter Coade said Saint John experienced a wetter than average summer, however, the majority of rain fell mostly on 10 days spread over four months.

Rainfall amounts in June were about 30 per cent above normal, said Coade, although most of the rain fell in the last four days of the month. Rainfall amounts also exceeded the average total amount of rain typically seen in July by approximately 25 per cent, but almost 70 per cent of that total was in one day, July 26.

'It's ridiculous, the whole thing …I avoid it.' - Elka Prior, Saint John commuter

August was below normal rainfall amounts, said Coade, with nearly the total month's rainfall observed on two separate days — Aug. 5 and Aug. 9. September was above the normal rainfall average by just under 20 per cent, with most of that rain experienced in the first three days of the month.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams said by this time next month the wait will finally be over. However, in the meantime, he said crews are not cutting any corners.

Sgt. Jeff LaFrance, head of the Saint John Police traffic division, said motorists will see some immediate improvements.

"The westbound lanes were open to two-way traffic, and those lanes were somewhat narrower than typical to allow them to work safely on the other side of the bridge," he said.

"Now they're going to just finish up, basically a cleanup of that side on the westbound lanes, and open up the eastbound lanes, which are much wider."

LaFrance said as a result, there is no longer any need for the two police cruisers that were stationed near the construction since April.

Those officers have been reassigned.

The progress isn't enough for commuters, including Elka Prior.

"It's ridiculous, the whole thing …I avoid it," she said.

The Harbour Bridge is undergoing $35 million worth of repairs to the surface and the addition of new lighting, a project that is expected to wrap up this year. Construction was initially scheduled for two years, ending in 2011

The provincial government is now responsible for the Saint John Harbour Bridge after signing an agreement with the federal government.