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N.B. to install temporary bridge in Cap-Pelé after original damaged by Dorian

The Kouchibouguac River Bridge was closed Sept. 20 after it was deemed unsafe.
The Kouchibouguac River Bridge was closed Sept. 20 after it was deemed unsafe. Callum Smith / Global News

A temporary modular bridge will soon be installed to replace the Kouchibouguac River Bridge No. 1 in Cap-Pelé, N.B., which was shut down after the arrival of post-tropical storm Dorian in September.

The province’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure announced Monday that it was determined a short-term fix is the “quickest and safest way to temporarily restore this transportation link.”

“The department is working diligently to develop a long-term plan and determine next steps in installing a permanent structure,” a release from the province reads.

READ MORE: ‘What’s wrong with it?’: Cap-Pelé residents want answers about Kouchibouguac River Bridge

The bridge closed on Sept. 20 due to structural concerns caused by aging, weathering and damage inflicted by post-tropical storm Dorian.

The transportation department says those structural issues included the significant loss of concrete from the underside of the deck at critical areas, which directly impacted the strength of the bridge.

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“Staff determined that it is not possible to open the structure at this time due to the possibility of the bridge collapsing,” the department stated.

Cape-Pele bridge closure impacting businesses
Cape-Pele bridge closure impacting businesses

Since the bridge’s closure, residents have come out and said they have grown frustrated with the lack of communication from the government. A detour was set up, adding an additional 10 minutes to travel, but residents have said the signs are hard to spot.

READ MORE: Cap-Pelé business losing money due to bridge closure after Hurricane Dorian

The province says planning for the work behind the modular bridge will be completed in December, with the installation expected to be complete before spring 2020, weather permitting.

Funding for the modular bridge was approved on Nov. 28, when the provincial government signed a Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangement with the federal government.

With files from Callum Smith.