COLES ISLAND (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments are investing nearly $45 million over the next four years to replace two aging bridges on an important trade corridor in the central part of the province.

Preliminary planning is underway for the replacement of the Coles Island north and south bridges, which are currently reduced to one lane of traffic, to ensure that Route 10 remains a viable transportation link for the resource industry.

“Strategic investments in transportation infrastructure are crucial to fostering an environment of economic growth and are an important component of our multi-year economic growth plan,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “The replacement of these key transportation links will ensure that New Brunswick companies can get their goods to market efficiently and remain competitive.”

Route 10 is a trade corridor for the forest industry, which accounts for more than 22,000 jobs across the province.

“Our government is investing in Canada’s economy by making improvements to our trade and transportation corridors,” said federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau. “We are supporting projects that will move commercial goods to market, stimulate economic growth, create quality middle-class jobs, and ensure that Canada’s transportation networks remain competitive and efficient.”

Preliminary design work is underway. An engineering survey has been completed and geotechnical data has been collected. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2019 and is expected to take two to three years to complete.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $45 million. The federal government will fund up to $22.062 million through the National Trade Corridors Fund and the provincial government will fund $22.8 million.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s $688.2-million capital budget reflects the government’s priority of investing strategically in its buildings, highways and bridges. Strategic investments in infrastructure are a key component of the multi-year New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, the government’s framework for moving the economy forward.