A ribbon-cutting marked the opening of a long-awaited crossing for people looking to go between Moncton and Riverview.
Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold says having the 240-metre bridge open after the former causeway was closed for more than five months — forcing commuters to use the Gunningsville Bridge — is a “historic” moment.
The river channel is about 175 metres wide, restoring the previously cut off tidal flow.
It’s been a decades-long fight for some environmentalists.
“It’s certainly a really meaningful day, but especially for the environmental advocates who have championed the project to restore the Petitcodiac River tidal bore to what it was when the causeway was first created more than 50 years ago,” says Riverview Mayor Andrew LeBlanc.
LeBlanc says the construction has impacted local commute times and businesses.
The whole project has a price tag of $121 million, with nearly $62 million for the bridge itself.
The route closed April 5 and was expected to last six months.
The structure is the second-last piece of the project, according to Transportation Minister Jill Green.
More work will happen near the traffic circle — connecting the bridge to Wheeler Boulevard, Salisbury Road, and Main Street — on the Moncton side.
“It’s going to be slope work, working where the old landfill used to be, still working on some of the dikes and the aboiteaux related to the construction project,” Green tells Global News.
Some people are just pleased the bulk of the construction work is complete.
“It’s going to be nice not to have the loud noise when I try to sleep in the daytime,” says Amanda Campbell, who lives near the bridge. “I work night shift.”
Riverview Tire Services owner Fen Mabey has had a countdown sign for motorists along Coverdale Road.
“We started at 179 days,” he says.
People have continued to ask him, “how many days are left?”
The project didn’t cause nearly the disruption he expected, Mabey says.
Some are pleased congestion will decrease, even those like business owner Wayne Springer, who says he kept his same client base from Moncton, despite the inconveniences.
In the background, a crowd of angry anti-vaccine passport protesters appeared, with some shouting “Trudeau must go” at an event without the federal Liberal Party leader.
Others could be heard repeatedly shouting “freedom” and “no vax pass.”