One Mile House interchange finally opens on Route 1

The One Mile House interchange in Saint John officially opens on Friday.

Interchange completes trio of high-priced road projects in Saint John region

The One Mile House interchange in Saint John officially opens on Friday.

The off ramp is meant to direct truck traffic from the Highway 1 to nearby industry sites and ease congestion on city streets.

The project has been plagued with problems since construction began in 2009. The original contractor went bankrupt and completion was delayed by one year, leading to road closures and disruptions for nearby businesses.

Provincial transportation officials have said the final price tag on the One Mile House project in Saint John is $83 million. The estimated cost had been $43.5 million.

Greg O'Leary, owner of Aberdeen Motors on Rothesay Avenue, said he is relieved the interchange is finally opening.

"My goodness, you can say that again," said O'Leary. "We've heard it from clients, and almost everybody that travels on Rothesay Avenue.

"But I will say that I believe Saint John is headed for a growth phase, and having this ready will help us … I think the overall effect is going to be very positive."

O'Leary said he is also welcoming the drop in truck traffic.

"I don't think that the guy driving a transport truck is interested in looking at a car," he said.

The new interchange completes a series of high-priced road projects in the Saint John region, just as concerns have been raised about cuts in the Department of Transportation.

Tom McGinn, executive director of the New Brunswick Road Builders​ Association, said that chill has a noticeable effect.

"We have contractors now with equipment in their yard that hasn't moved this year, and that's a result of the big spending we had four, five, six years ago," he said.

McGinn said money should be spread around during tough economic times, especially for maintenance of existing roads in poor condition.

The One Mile House highway interchange involves a series of overpasses that lead to the Bayside Drive industrial area. It was meant to divert increased truck traffic expected from a second oil refinery.

Irving Oil Ltd. cancelled its plans to build the refinery, but the interchange still went ahead.