New Brunswick

Petitcodiac River bridge construction begins in spring

Construction on a new bridge across the Petitcodiac River to replace the causeway between Moncton and Riverview will begin in the spring, it was announced Friday.

Federal and provincial governments announce $61M in funding for 240-metre span to replace causeway

The group Petitcodiac Renaissance released this image earlier this summer of what a proposed partial bridge across the Petitcodiac River would look like. (Submitted by Petitcodiac Renaissance)

Construction on a new bridge across the Petitcodiac River to replace the causeway between Moncton and Riverview will begin in the spring, it was announced Friday.

Premier Brian Gallant and federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc made the announcement as they put up a combined $61.6 million for the project. New Brunswick will contribute $32.9 million, and the remainder will come from Ottawa. 

The creation of the causeway resulted in a variety of environmental problems in the river, including the buildup of silt, narrowing of the river and making it inhospitable for salmon and other fish.

"Decades ago some mistakes were made," Gallant said. "As New Brunswickers, when we make a mistake, we fix it."

The new bridge will be steel and 240 metres long. It will include a sidewalk and two lookout areas.

Long wait

Daniel LeBlanc has been waiting for years for the announcement.

LeBlanc told Information Morning Moncton the announcement has been in the works for years but government has "finally managed to put the funding together between the province and the federal government."

"It will mean a final solution to the problems the river has known for 50 years. The second phase of the project was opening the gates and this was meant to last for 2 years — the gates were not designed to be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."

The gates of the causeway were opened in April, 2010 and LeBlanc said if a bridge didn't go ahead, the province would have had to make significant investments in the aging structure.

Greater Moncton 'a strange place'

LeBlanc said a partial bridge was always the intention.

"It will widen the river, it will allow navigation to be restored both up river and down river," he said. "As people have noticed over the last few years there's a lot of silt that has accumulated in the former head pond — the majority of that will now be removed."

Daniel LeBlanc, seen here in 2014 with an Atlantic salmon he found on the banks of the Petitcodiac River while surfing, said a new bridge will finally restore the river. (Facebook)
LeBlanc calls the Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe region "a bit of a strange place," and said the three communities need to work more closely together to restore the Petitcodiac River. 

"It's mostly like little towns fighting for their own little piece of the pie ... here we have these cities that are kind of divided by the river so no one really took ownership at the municipal level — some of them talked a good talk on the river but really no action."

LeBlanc credits New Brunswick MP and federal minister Dominic LeBlanc with today's announcement.

"He was always supporting the river in the nineties and when he came back to power he has done good on his promise to finish this project for the community and for New Brunswick."

With files from Radio-Canada and Information Morning Moncton


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