FREDERICTON (GNB) – Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Oliver recently met with Shediac-Beaubassin-Cap-Pelé MLA Jacques LeBlanc along with representatives from the communities of Shediac, Beaubassin East and Cap-Pelé to discuss the Kouchibouguac River Bridge No. 1.

“We had a good dialogue about the structural concerns of the bridge,” said Oliver. “We will continue to engage with the local MLA and community representatives throughout the process.”

On Sept. 20, the bridge was closed due to structural concerns caused by aging, weathering and damage inflicted by Hurricane Dorian. Structural issues included the significant loss of concrete from the underside of the deck at critical areas which directly impact the strength of the bridge. Staff determined that it is not possible to open the structure at this time due to the possibility of the bridge collapsing.

Oliver said the department is working diligently to determine the next steps and said any decisions will be communicated to the public as appropriate. This includes reviewing the possibility of using a short-term structure, like a modular bridge.

In the meantime, detour signage is in place to re-route traffic through Route 15. Motorists are advised to obey all detour signage and avoid taking alternate routes to Route 15 that could potentially compromise safety.