The mayor of Placentia fears delays repairing the area's lift bridge will mar the town's 350th anniversary festivities and keep tourists away from the community this summer.
Work on the Sir Ambrose Shea Bridge is more than a month behind schedule. It’s now expected to be repaired by August.
Bill Hogan expects would-be visitors will avoid anniversary celebrations because the bridge connecting the community’s main road — and one of the principal ways into Placentia — will be closed to traffic during peak construction.
"You got a bunch of people coming off the [ferries] here when they land [at Argentia], they know the festivities are going on. They're going to stop here, but they'll come down and see torn up highways, they’ll be stopped at the bridge," he said.
Hogan said he's written Premier Kathy Dunderdale to call on the province to speed up the repair process.
"We're at the [whim] of a bureaucracy that's constipated and just won't move. It seems like they've just ignored this district altogether," he said.
"They talked a good game about the bridge and the major work they've got to do, but they know these festivities are on the go, everyone in the country knows these festivities are on the go. They're just not cooperating or supporting us in getting the community looking its best."
With anniversary festivities happening all summer long, Hogan was expecting the population of Placentia to double, or even triple, in the coming weeks.
A contract worth $1.7 million has been awarded to fix the almost 50-year-old structure.
Land and Sea Welding Ltd. won the province’s tender for repairs.
The province had put out a tender last year to replace the entire bridge, but decided not to follow through because the only bid was for $43.3 million, almost double government's estimate.
Heavier vehicles weighing more than 13,000 kilograms have been restricted from crossing the bridge after an inspection in February revealed serious structural problems.