Longest bridge along P.E.I.'s Confederation Trail being replaced in $2M project

The bridge over the Morell River on the Confederation Trail, on P.E.I.’s North Shore, a major piece of trail infrastructure on one of the most scenic parts of the trail, is being replaced.

Roofs of 6 province-owned buildings and 4 schools being replaced or repaired as well

This walking, biking and snowmobiling bridge over the Morell River is the longest one on the Confederation Trail network. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The bridge over the Morell River on the Confederation Trail on P.E.I.'s North Shore, a major piece of infrastructure on one of the most scenic parts of the trail, is being replaced.

Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay and Infrastructure Minister James Aylward announced $2 million in funding for the project Wednesday morning.

The current bridge, 70 metres long, is the longest on the Confederation Trail.

It will be replaced with a 72-metre steel structure. The project will include some environmental improvements to the river, with the installation of retention ponds, straw mulch and silt fences.

"This will provide folks in our community with improved and lasting access to our wonderful network of nature trails," said MacAulay.

He added the government of Canada is increasing its spending on infrastructure to help the country come out of the economic problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This bridge over the Morell River measures 70 metres; it will be replaced by one two metres longer, and measures will be taken to protect the marine environment. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"There's never a better time to deal with infrastructure than when you need to give the economy a boost," he said.

Aylward said bridges in the province are assessed annually, and the Morell Bridge was identified as one needing to be replaced.

"The trails provide a safe outdoor space for people to be active. We want to ensure that these trails remain open and structurally sound for Islanders to enjoy for years to come," he said.

There will be further announcements about bridge work this summer, he added.

Dale Hickox, president of the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association, says the new bridge will make it easier to groom the Morell stretch of the Confederation Trail. His association leases the network in the winter. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The funding comes as welcome news for the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association, which leases the Confederation Trail in winter for the use of its members. 

President Dale Hickox said the association's grooming equipment is big and heavy, and travels on the bridge a lot in the snowmobiling season. 

"Over the years I've heard comments, 'Maybe that bridge is starting to get weak' — not that there was ever concern for a snowmobile or snowmobiler, but with the equipment we use to groom the trails … you just wonder, through time, if it's going to keep deteriorating."  

Money for new roofs too

Wednesday's announcement included funding for new or repaired roofs at four schools as well as a number of other provincial buildings.

  • L. M. Montgomery Elementary School, Charlottetown.
  • East Wiltshire Junior High School, Cornwall.
  • M. E. Callaghan Intermediate School, Elmsdale.
  • Somerset Consolidated School, Kinkora.
  • Aubin Arsenault Building, Charlottetown.
  • Sullivan Building, Charlottetown.
  • Basin Head Fisheries Museum.
  • Kensington Post Office.
  • Customs House, Charlottetown.
  • MacPhail Woods Nature Centre.

"The replacement of the roof on these four schools, while it is needed, it'll actually make these four schools more energy efficient as well, which is a very important aspect," said Aylward.

The work will begin this spring, and both the school roofs and the bridge should be done by September.

The total cost of these projects is $3.38 million, with $2.7 million coming from the federal government, and the remainder coming from the provincial government.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Brian Higgins


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