New Maine crossing under consideration

EDMUNSTON, N.B. — Concerns over whether or not a border bridge in New Brunswick can handle its daily flow of commercial traffic has prompted a neighboring U.S. state to take action.

According to a story in the Telegraph-Journal, the Maine Department of Transportation is leading a study and a U.S. consultancy is gathering information on whether traffic projections warrant a third bridge crossing near the Edmundston-Madawaska border between now and 2030.

Another border crossing in Van Duren, Maine, handles area border traffic but will require improvements due to flood damage.

A recent decision by the U.S. General Services Administration to build new inspection facilities in 2010 just upriver from Fraser Papers Inc.’s cross-border integrated pulp and paper operations, might throw a hitch in the plans for a third border crossing.

The new inspection facilities will provide more space for border officers to perform commercial inspections, but the paper company says they’ll take up too much space and force the company to relocate key operations and increase area traffic.

Once the inspection facilities are completed, local politicians figure it could be tough to get a new crossing in a different location, like possibly downriver closer to the Trans-Canada Highway.

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