New Brunswick unveils new permit scheme

FREDERICTON — Effective Jan. 4, 1999, permits will be required for trucks to travel on routes considered by the province to be alternates to a 195-kilometre toll highway being constructed between Moncton and Fredericton.

The permits are free, but will only be issued to allow for local deliveries and residential truck traffic, according to provincial Transportation Minister Sheldon Lee.

The first three restrictions coincide with the opening of a 23-kilometre stretch of the toll road between Moncton and River Glade:

> Route 106: From Edinburgh Drive in Moncton (in the industrial park area) to the junction with Route 2 near River Glade.

> Route 112: From Forkstream Road to Route 885 near Havelock.

> Homestead Road: From the intersection of Route 2 and the Homestead Road, easterly to Route 128 at Berry Mills.

All permits will be issued from the Permit Office of the Dept. of Transportation in Fredericton. However, permit application forms will be available at Service New Brunswick offices, weigh scales, Dept. of Transportation district offices, and electronically on the department’s Web site. Once the application is received at head office, the permits can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed back to any destination free of charge.

The province will issue two types of permits: residential permits, issued to businesses or residents operating vehicles weighing more than 4500 kilograms, located on a closed route, for access to the main routes; and local delivery permits, issued to a company for either a single trip or an annual period.

Lee said the permitting process will be applied as portions of the Fredericton-Moncton Highway Project are completed and open to traffic, as well as to other sections of highway in the province where appropriate.

“I believe restricting truck traffic on these alternate routes will provide the traveling public with safer highways,” he said.

“This isn’t a safety issue,” snapped Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association executive director Ralph Boyd. “The only thing a four-lane highway will prevent is a head-on collision. This decision is designed to funnel as much traffic as possible to the toll route.

“I’m extremely disappointed in the way the government is handling this. They’re dipping into our pockets on the toll highway, and they’re binding us in red tape on the local roads.

“Can you imagine the cry in the legislature in Toronto if the government mandated all commercial traffic off Hwy. 401 onto the 407? I can tell you what would happen. People would be going to market and there would not be bread or milk,” Boyd said.

“When groups are not treated fairly, they will rebel.”

Boyd said his association does not advocate blockades as a method of protest, “but I do not speak for everyone in the industry. Jan. 4 will be interesting.”

Lee said the province is simply acting on provisions created in December 1997, when amendments to the New Brunswick Highway Act were passed in order enforce no-trucking zones through the issuing of permits.

He added that for many years, provincial legislation has provided for the restriction of specific classes of vehicles, such as trucks, from certain sections of highway in New Brunswick.

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