‘How many days?’; Moncton area residents countdown to causeway completion

The countdown is on to the completion of the bridge connecting Riverview to Moncton.

A sign outside of a Riverview garage reads “70 days till the bridge reopens,” on Wednesday.

Garage owner Fenwick Maybe says when he first put up this sign in front of his Riverview shop, it was meant as a joke.

“I’m known to be a bit of a character, so I just got this whim and talked to a sign guy and said, ‘this is what I want to do’,” recalls Maybe.

For now, the sign has become a staple for commuters, with drivers turning to Maybe for his countdown to the reopening of the Petitcodiac River Causeway.

“Everywhere I go they ask ‘how many days? how many days?’… doesn’t matter where I am,” says Maybe.

Construction first shut down the Causeway on April 5, diverting all traffic travelling between Moncton and Riverview to the Gunningsville Bridge for six months.

“It gets a little congested, sometimes for about five to ten minutes. You know at lunch time, but other than that, it flows pretty well,” says Maybe.

But just past the halfway mark into the $60-million cross-river construction, not everyone feels the same.

“Our business is down quite a bit since the causeway closed,” says Wendy Smith, owner of Walton’s Bakery in Riverview.

Just up the road from the construction, Smith says her bakery saw more customers during the height of the pandemic then they are now, with people from Moncton telling them it’s easier to shop on the other side of the river.

“People would rather come here than go to the big box stores, if they just needed bakery items, so that didn’t hurt us, but the causeway has,” says Smith.

Riverview Mayor Andrew LeBlanc says some businesses on his side of the causeway have reached out to him about the impact of the closure, saying the restaurant industry was seemingly the hardest hit, seeing fewer out of town visitors since construction began.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure says the more than $60-million project is scheduled to open on October 5, a day many are looking forward to.

“I imagine that our regular clientele will just be flocking to us, because they haven’t gotten our product in so long,” says Smith.

Until then, drivers are keeping a close eye on the countdown.

“People are seeing an end to it. When it first went up, it was a ‘Oh my God’ kind of thing, but now it’s down to a reasonable number,” says Maybe.