Moncton causeway to come down
The New Brunswick Ministry of Supply and Services has decided to replace the Petitcodiac River Causeway in Moncton ...
The New Brunswick Ministry of Supply and Services has decided to replace the Petitcodiac River Causeway in Moncton with a 280-metre long bridge.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $68 million.
A federal-provincial Environmental Impact Assessment report was approved by the Department of the Environment last December. The report included four different options.
Of these, the option that has been selected involves first opening the gates in the causeway to allow fish passage and then constructing a new bridge immediately downstream of the existing bridge. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing gate structure would be removed. The eventual river opening would be between 72 and 225 metres wide.
The bridge would have four lanes of traffic, connecting Moncton to Riverview on the south bank of the Petitcodiac River, which flows into the Bay of Fundy.
The work would be carried out in three phases: two years for planning and site preparation; two years for opening the causeway gates and environmental monitoring of the river; then three to four years for constructing the new bridge.
The causeway was built in 1968 and has become a sore point with environmentalists because it reduced the river’s tidal bore and blocked the passage for fish. In 2003, the river was ranked second as one of the most endangered rivers in the country.
The Petitcodiac Riverkeeper environmental group is pleased with the decision, which it favoured out of the four options. In a release on August 7, the same day as the provincial government’s announcement, Riverkeeper President Michel Desjardins, wrote: “We have reached an important landmark today. The option the province has chosen for the restoration of the Petitcodiac River is the right one. It promises to maximize the benefits related to our river’s restoration, ecologically as well as economically, culturally and socially.”
However, homeowners on Lake Petitcodiac, a lake that was created by the causeway, are not so sanguine because they seem likely to lose their waterfront property values. The Environmental impact assessment suggested that they should be recompensed for 30% of the lost value of their homes.
New Brunswick’s Supply and Services Minister Roly McIntyre said that the next step is to secure funding from the federal government.
There is no word yet whether the province will hire consulting engineering companies to help with the work.