The bridge construction phase of this project is the result of a productive collaboration between MaineDOT and the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (NBDTI). This project also involves detailed coordination with federal agencies in both the U.S. and Canada.
This project will replace the bridge that provides a critical connection between Madawaska, Maine and Edmundston, New Brunswick. The current structure is 100 years old and approaching the end of its useful life. The bridge deck and superstructure are in poor condition and show signs of advanced deterioration. Since October 2017, the international bridge has been posted at a five-ton weight limit, creating a significant detour. Furthermore, the existing building and site of the land port of entry on the U.S. side are substandard and need to be replaced, MaineDOT says.
The new bridge will be constructed on a new alignment: it will cross the St. John River at an approximately 45-degree angle and be located approximately 1,400 ft upstream from the existing bridge. Because of this new alignment, the new structure will be nearly twice the length of the existing one. The new bridge will feature wider travel lanes and added shoulders on both sides. There will also be a raised sidewalk on the downstream side of the new bridge. The new bridge will be constructed using steel girders supported on concrete substructures and is designed to last 100 years.
"The year-long challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have laid bare the importance of the connections between Maine and Canada," MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note said in a statement. "We are eager to move forward with this project to greatly improve one of these vital connection points. This new bridge will improve safety and support economic activities on both sides of the international border."
The total project cost will be $97.5 million. In 2019, this project received a $36-million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the Federal Highway Administration. The remaining costs are being shared by MaineDOT and NBDTI.
Construction work is expected to begin later this month. MaineDOT anticipates opening the new bridge to traffic by the end of 2023. Demolition of the old bridge is scheduled to begin once traffic is moved onto the new bridge. The estimated final completion date of this project is June 30, 2025.
SOURCE: Maine DOT