Petitcodiac River bridge in N.B. to open two weeks ahead of schedule

The Petitcodiac River bridge that connects Moncton and Riverview, N.B. is set to open ahead of schedule and on budget, according to New Brunswick's Department of Transportation. 

The former causeway was first shut down on April 5, forcing all traffic travelling between Moncton and Riverview to take the Gunningsville Bridge route instead.

The bridge is now scheduled to open two weeks earlier than planned.

Riverview's mayor, Andrew LeBlanc, believes the reopening will benefit local businesses who have seen fewer out-of-town visitors since construction began.

"It's going to be a much needed boost back into the Riverview economy," said LeBlanc. "There was an impact on them for closing the bridge. In particular, the restaurant industry. A lot of restaurant owners indicated they had seen a decline in customers coming in, so we're really excited that the bridge is going to be opening early."

The old causeway gates had blocked the river for more than 50 years but since their removal, the flow of the river under the bridge has been redirected.

Mike Pauley, with New Brunswick's Department of Transportation, says the $60 million bridge was built on budget, with a total cost of the project coming in at $121 million.

"It's doing to be similar to what was there before," said Pauley. "It's going to have four lanes but there is a benefit to the communities as well, with the implementation of a three metre-wide sidewalk."

According to Pauley, there was no proper trail system in the area previously, which is why they're currently working with both Moncton and Riverview to help extend their walkways.

The bridge will officials open to traffic on Sept. 17, weather dependent.