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Saint John Harbour Bridge work to start Sunday as council seeks changes

Rehabilitation work on the Saint John Harbour Bridge is set to resume Sunday and is projected to continue through the construction season until the end of November.

saint john harbour bridge work to start sunday as council seeks changes

“The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure wishes to advise the travelling public that the Saint John Harbour Bridge will again be reduced to one lane of traffic in both directions from April 2, 2023, until November 30, 2023, to allow for multi-phase work,” the ministry said on its website

The $26.4-million repair project began in June 2021 and is expected to continue through to 2026, with phase three starting Sunday.

The summer season will look at the middle portion of the bridge, with more work being done on the bearings. Plans include lane closures and work being done throughout the day and night.

Read more: Saint John’s Harbour Bridge opens to full capacity as repairs halt

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Jeff Carr, New Brunswick’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, told Global News that the project could run to between $26 million and $30 million by the time it is complete. He said supply chain issues and labour costs had hurt projects like the Harbour Bridge Rehabilitation.

The work comes as the City of Saint John pushes for what it calls “long-term solutions” in hopes of finding a one-time fix for the bridge.

The bridge is in Saint John City Councillor David Hickey’s riding. He recalled sitting on the bridge for over an hour and a half last summer.

“We don’t want any short-term fixes,” Hickey said.

“What we want are long-term fixes so we can avoid traffic disruptions at lengths like this.”

Councillor David Hickey said the city will continue to advocate for the bridge. Zack Power / Global News

He said that he’s been hearing from residents who have been struggling with the commute between Uptown and the West Side.

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Carr said he understands the frustration, but night construction is not always possible.

“It’s difficult with labour shortages,” he said.

Read more: Federal, N.B. governments investing nearly $15 million in Saint John Harbour Bridge

“If there’s anything we can do at night, I’m sure the contractor and our managers are talking about it.”

An estimated 37,000 motorists cross the Harbour Bridge daily. Carr said closing a lane at a time will not “abuse” the Reversing Falls Bridge, which he described as another bridge within the city that’s showing its age.

Discussions with first responders have been “ongoing” with the City of Saint John.

The Harbour Bridge is one of only two links between the west end of Saint John and the other corridors of the city. The Reversing Falls Bridge is a secondary connection when repairs and closures have halted eastern New Brunswick and Maine traffic.

Regular traffic on the Saint John Harbour Bridge will resume in late 2023. Zack Power / Global New (2022)s

Carr said that despite some of the hospitals being staggered on one side of the bridge, first responders have been able to pass through quickly.

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The provincial and federal governments recently pitched in nearly $15 million for phases three and four of the Harbour Bridge project.

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