The free shuttle service being provided to cyclists and pedestrians during the 18-month replacement of the Sydney River bridge is running smoothly so far, says the province.

The two-lane bridge on Keltic Drive in Sydney River was closed earlier this week in preparation for the $12.6-million replacement bridge to be installed by Fredericton-based Caldwell and Ross Ltd.

The new bridge will also include a four-metre-wide lane for pedestrians and cyclists.

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The contract to replace the Sydney River bridge was awarded to a Fredericton-based company several weeks ago. (George Mortimer/CBC)

A five-kilometre detour has been established for vehicle traffic and a short-run shuttle is being run by CBRM Transit and paid for the province.

"I believe it's on schedule. We're going to monitor use very carefully and CBRM Transit will be able to work with us to keep the schedule flexible based on demand," said Gerard Jessome, a director at the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

"We might modify the schedule as we go through this project."

The shuttle runs every half hour for 12 hours a day, from the Coxheath area on one side of the bridge to the Keltic Plaza shopping centre on the other side.

"There's been some kids, they've had bikes and we provide a bike rack on the front. It holds three bikes," said Lee Stewart, one of the shuttle drivers.

"This bus is wheelchair accessible. We have two spots for wheelchairs. So, it's going to do good."

Stewart said he expects his bus to be full when nearby Riverview High School resumes classes in the fall.