PEI

Potential traffic backup on Confederation Bridge 'significant safety issue'

With Confederation Bridge opening to travellers from Atlantic Canada starting next Friday, officials are concerned about the potential for traffic backing up over the bridge.

Ferry announces it will open to general travellers

The Atlantic bubble is coming, but provincial border checkpoints will remain. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

With Confederation Bridge opening to travellers from Atlantic Canada starting next Friday, officials are concerned about the potential for traffic backing up over the bridge.

Currently only essential travellers and pre-approved seasonal residents are allowed to cross the bridge, but that will change July 3 with the opening of the Atlantic bubble as part of easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. While provincial borders will be open to Atlantic Canadians there will, however, be checkpoints to ensure others do not cross.

That concerns Michel LeChasseur, general manager for Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd., which manages the Confederation Bridge.

"The traffic is going to be the big issue. You don't want traffic to back up on the bridge," said LeChasseur.

"It seems like a long stretch between the scale house and the bridge, but put a few tractor trailers in there and you're there. It doesn't take much. So again it's a single lane. So basically we want to avoid traffic on the bridge because that's a safety issue, a significant safety issue on any day."

Bridge staff are comparing possible numbers with the provincial government to determine what amount of screening capacity will be needed to keep traffic flowing.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are still working on details for their screening points at their borders.

Reduced ferry capacity

The bubble also means that ferry service will resume for non-essential travellers on the ferry, which is currently carrying only commercial truck traffic.

Northumberland Ferries said it will be slashing its passenger load in half, from 600 to 300. It is recommending making a reservation ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

Passengers will be asked to bring a mask to wear while they are on board.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Nicole Williams

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