New Brunswick

Reinforced St. Martins covered bridge able to carry full buses again

The most-photographed covered bridge in St. Martins, which failed an inspection last month, has reopened to regular traffic.

Weight restriction lifted on bridge that failed inspection last month

The Vaughan Creek covered bridge failed inspection in June, forcing the government to lower the maximum allowable weight. (Brian Chisholm, CBC)

A weight restriction imposed on a St. Martins covered bridge after it failed an inspection has been lifted, Bill Fraser, the minister of transportation and infrastructure, said Wednesday.

The Vaughan Creek bridge, a key link to sea caves and the Fundy Trail Parkway, was restricted to 18 tonnes after the failed inspection more than two weeks ago.

Among the vehicles affected were tour buses, whose passengers had to cross the bridge on foot.

Fraser said supports have now been added, and traffic is back to normal.

Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser says the weight restriction was lifted from the covered bridge on Wednesday. (Connell Smith/CBC)

"We had our crews down there as soon as the issue was identified," Fraser said in an interview.

"We got the green light as of today that the weight restriction can and will be removed, so it's back to normal traffic prior to the weight restriction being put on."

Fraser said a modular bridge that is being placed beside the covered bridge will still go ahead.

Fraser said the modular bridge is needed in case the covered bridge fails again. The community won't be left without a connection.

He also said the department will look into a more permanent link to the Fundy Parkway.

During the weight restriction, tour buses had to unload their passengers and ask them to walk across the covered bridge.

"We expect there will be a significant increase in the volume of the traffic along that structure and we want to make sure that proper planning goes in place and that we consult properly with the village of St. Martins," Fraser said.

"We will over the coming months, we will be looking at a long-term solution," he said.