Work on the Welsford Bypass project, a major upgrade of the Saint John to Fredericton highway, quietly ground to a halt this spring.
Work began on the $65 million 10-kilometre highway between Saint John and Fredericton in 2009. It was one of the largest road construction projects in the province in the last three years. The opening was planned for fall 2012.
Work progressed on schedule until this spring, when locals were surprised that work crews did not show up for the final push toward completion. No work has been done in eight months.
Alastair Barr, who runs the Welsford Golf Course in the shadow of the new highway, expressed his disappointment. "I was kind of looking forward to seeing it open," he said.
Until this spring, the work was on schedule, and almost completed. But no one showed up to finish the job.
Barr said government officials say there is no money to do so. "It was just a sort of surprise to everyone — they didn't come back this spring to finish it up," he said.
Resident Shawn Trecartin, who lives on a narrow and busy section of Route 7 that will see traffic moved to the new highway, said everyone in the area is disappointed.
"I don't understand why it's not done," he said. "It would be nice to have the four-lane done. I'd really appreciate it and I know I speak for other neighbours in the area."
The province said the new plan is to finish grading and start paving the new road sometime next month, then open the highway for fall 2013.