FREDERICTON (GNB) – The city’s historic walking bridge across the Saint John River reopened today after a major renovation project.

Funding for $3.9 million of the $4.3-million refurbishment was shared evenly between the City of Fredericton, and the provincial and federal governments under the Small Communities Fund, a component of the New Building Canada Fund.

The provincial government contributed the remaining $400,000 to cover repairs to some of the concrete piers.

“The Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge is an important part of the lives of people in Fredericton,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Jeff Carr. “We were pleased to support this vital infrastructure, which helps ensure Fredericton continues to be a vibrant and sustainable community.”

The $3.9-million portion of the repairs included replacing the existing deck and railway ties with precast concrete decking panels, topped with wood decking, and installing new steel pedestrian railings and timber hand rails. The bridge’s look out points, which were closed for safety reasons in 2017, were increased from three to four.

“The Government of Canada is proud to work with partners to get projects built that improve the lives of Canadians,” said Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long. “The Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge refurbishment ensures residents and visitors can benefit from this Fredericton landmark for generations to come. Together, we are making positive changes to promote active living, strengthen our communities, and build a more sustainable future.”

The bridge handles about 600,000 crossings a year. It is popular with residents and visitors, offering picturesque views of the city and river.

“The residents of Fredericton and I are thrilled to have our iconic Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge open again after a major four-month refurbishment project,” said Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien. “It is a key link in our active transportation network, and without a doubt one of our most popular tourism and recreational amenities.

“On behalf of my city council colleagues, I extend my sincere thanks to our federal and provincial government partners for their funding support in preserving this icon for generations to come,” said O’Brien.

In June 2008, the bridge was renamed in honour of Fredericton city councillor and long-time trails advocate Bill Thorpe.