Border clogging small town

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ST. STEPHEN, N.B. — Although more traffic means more business, the streets of St. Stephen are feeling the ill effects of getting too much of a good thing.

Anyone planning to enter the U.S. from the St. Stephen downtown International Bridge may want to reconsider.

Over the weekend, and spilling into this week, the line to enter the U.S. starts to fill St. Stephen’s streets by late morning. All afternoon and evening the trucks, cars, and RVs sit and idle for hours as they wait to cross into Maine.

Lines have stretched as long as three kilometres. They start forming in the late morning and last until midnight. Some wait for hours to get their turn.

Mayor of St. Stephen, Bob Brown, says the long lines of vehicles can only be relieved by construction of a new international bridge that will steer traffic away from downtown St. Stephen.

“We simply have to have a highway system that will handle the traffic at the border,” says Brown.

The decision on a location for a new bridge is in the hands of the New Brunswick and Maine governments and Brown has hope there will be an announcement soon. An international group of business leaders and community leaders, the Maine-New Brunswick Trade Corridor Committee, is also pushing the New Brunswick and Maine governments to get to work on a new bridge.

“It has to be fast-tracked. It’s not a question of whether it will be, it has to be,” Brown says. “There is no choice on that. The traffic grows each year.”

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