Miramichi bridge closure postponed until next year, says transportation minister
Scheduled work on Centennial Bridge was unlikely to wrap up before winter, prompting the delay
Full closure of the Centennial Bridge in Miramichi, in northeastern New Brunswick, has been pushed back a year because of supply chain issues, according to the province's transportation minister.
Work on the bridge, that would have required it to be fully closed to traffic for several months, was set to begin this summer.
But Jeff Carr said issues with construction materials made it unlikely that contractors would have been able to get the necessary work done before the winter months.
The decision was then made to postpone the construction by a year.
"If it's delayed too far into the start of winter, paving wouldn't be able to happen properly and the surface of the bridge wouldn't seal properly," said Carr.
"We don't want to take that risk this year."
The aging bridge, which opened in 1967, is one of two links between the two halves of Miramichi and accommodates about 8,000 vehicles a day, according to the province.
It's undergoing a major refurbishment estimated to cost $100 million, funded by both the provincial and federal governments.
Carr said this isn't the only infrastructure project impacted by supply chain issues, citing Fredericton's new courthouse and Saint John's Harbour Bridge as other examples.
There will still be some work on the Centennial Bridge this year, resulting in short-term closures.
Adam Lordon, mayor of Miramichi, said the city has been working with the province for years on the plan for the bridge, and there is relief at city hall finally knowing what summer construction will look like.
"In recent weeks where it's just sort of been delayed without really an explanation or a timeline of what the plan was — that has been causing, I think, some concern and anxiety in the community," said Lordon.
"In the short term, I think there's relief that we now know what the summer will look like."
Carr said the delay in refurbishment should not cause any safety issues at the bridge.
The bridge was scheduled to see three summers of full closures between 2023 and 2025.
Carr said he hopes the postponement won't mean an extension past 2025, and said the department is looking into ways work can be done to have the bridge completed on schedule.
He said there are no plans to change the size and scope of the project due to the delay.