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New bridge may be coming soon (July 03, 2002)

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. -- Funds may have been taken from Route 1 improvements for other highway projects, but at least o...

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. — Funds may have been taken from Route 1 improvements for other highway projects, but at least one optimist believes a new border crossing here is coming.

Chairman of the Maine-New Brunswick, Trade Corridor Committee, Jim Purcell says “good sources” have told him an announcement is coming soon on the new border bridge that has held up work on Route 1.

“Once they put a bridge up, they have to bring the highway to it,” Purcell says.

“I think we’ve waited long enough for the turn to come at bat as far as the bridge is concerned. We’re hoping it’s all coming in short order. I mean, you can’t even go outside my office here without running into transports lined up the front street of St. Stephen. That’s not right.”

St. Stephen Mayor Bob Brown says he too has heard a bridge announcement will be made this summer.

“My belief is once you get the announcement on the bridge, and you get work starting on the bridge, then the access highway will be completed and the twinning will come after that,” he says.

But Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association president Ralph Boyd, explains the news that funds may have been taken away from Route 1 work to go to the Sussex bypass project is a symptom of a larger problem. He explains there is a lack of roadwork during what is supposed to be prime season for such.

“We’re almost at a standstill now,” he says.

He says the province isn’t making the deals necessary nor is it finding the cash internally to get much-needed highway work done.

Boyd stresses to local media that New Brunswick is heavily dependent on its highway infrastructure, and there is a lot of work needed. He suspects federal funding is available if the province would agree to a cost-sharing deal, even if that means dipping into the surplus fund.

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