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Hold put on four-lane link to U.S.

FREDERICTON, N.B. - Plans for a four-lane highway link between Saint John and the U.S. border are being put on the back burner.In the past, the province has been slowly extending the two-lane highway ...


FREDERICTON, N.B. – Plans for a four-lane highway link between Saint John and the U.S. border are being put on the back burner.

In the past, the province has been slowly extending the two-lane highway west of the city toward a new international border crossing near St. Stephen. Now, the completion of that project will take a back seat to the twinning of the remaining two-lane sections of the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH).

“Our main priority right now is to get the federal government to the table so that we can finish twinning the TCH,” says Transportation Minister Margaret Ann Blaney. “Eventually, we want to complete the twinning of all the roads in our portion of the National Highway System, including Route 1.”

While the Trans-Canada bypasses the Port City, a four-lane link to the national highway is nearing completion. Route 1 east of the city is now twinned as far as Norton, and by 2004 the city will have a four-lane connector to the TCH at Moncton.

The final section (15 kilometres including the Sussex bypass) is expected to be completed within two years.

The link to the west, which would provide high-speed access to the U.S. border, appears to be nothing more than a long-term thought at this time.

Blaney says the full twinning of the western half of Route 1, at a cost of more than $200 million, is not on the province’s drawing board. Maine’s decision to abandon plans to twin Route 9 from Bangor to Calais is a leading reason for that decision.

The ruling Tories are pushing Ottawa for a new highway funding agreement to complete the twinning of the Trans-Canada. With the completion of the Fredericton-to-Moncton highway later this fall, there will be a fully twinned highway from the provincial capital to the Nova Scotia border. North of Fredericton, however, there are still long stretches of two-lane.

Blaney says the province is looking to Ottawa for the majority of the $420 million required to twin the Trans-Canada from Long’s Creek to Pokiok and from Woodstock to Grand Falls.

New Brunswick still has $75 million remaining in a federal-provincial highway funding under the current agreement, but those dollars will be exhausted over the next two years. n


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