The pedestrian tunnel at Kingsclear First Nation under Route 102 is now open. The new tunnel next to the Wulastukw convenience store connects the north and south sides of the community.
Alyssia Paul was struck by a truck and killed while trying to cross the busy highway in September to get to the store. After her death, the First Nation community decided they wanted to construct the walking tunnel to keep the community safe.
“It hit our community hard because she was so well liked,” said Kingsclear First Nation Chief Gabriel Atwin.
READ MORE: Kingsclear First Nation to build pedestrian passage in wake of woman’s death
Over 7,000 cars pass the store each day and residents would like to see the speed limit decreased from 100 km/h to 50 km/h. They have also suggested to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure they add a roundabout to help drivers slow down.
The project currently has a price tag of $1.2 million. That figure will balloon to over $1.4 million as soon as the tunnel is complete. Once the snow melts, workers will resume construction on the tunnel. There will still be about a month’s worth of work to do to complete it. The construction crews will pave the pathway, add security cameras and build a fence.
At this time, the project has not been paid for since it is still incomplete.
WATCH: Kingsclear First Nation builds pedestrian passage
The community is now seeking financial assistance to pay for the pedestrian tunnel. The federal government has promised to assist and now they wish to speak with the newly formed New Brunswick government
“Financially we would hope that the provincial and federal governments can sit down and come up with a plan and see if we can have a price-sharing agreement,” says local resident Derek Solomon
Chief Atwin says around 70 pedestrians a day use the tunnel, including young children that can now use it to walk to and from school.
The community plans to memorialize Alyssia Paul by naming the tunnel after her.
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