Office of the Premier
Fredericton-Moncton Highway officially opened / Open for travel Oct. 24
Oct. 23, 2001
(CNB) -- The official opening of the Fredericton to Moncton Highway was held
today on the new bridge spanning the St. John River between Jemseg and Coytown
Premier Bernard Lord, along with a panel of guests representing Maritime Road
Development Corporation (MRDC) and other major participants in the four-year
project, cut the ribbon today to mark the completion of the 195-km highway project.
The highway is opening a full five weeks prior to the Nov. 30 deadline outlined
in the project contract.
Ribbon cutting ceremory (150
dpi image) Video- Quicktime Movie (1)
Microsoft ASF (1), Audio -
Quicktime (Hon. Percy Mockler)
(Mr. Leo McArthur) (Premier
Bernard Lord)- (more audio/video)
"This highway project has truly been a project built by New Brunswickers for New Brunswickers," Lord said. "Ninety per
cent of the workforce, which peaked at more than 1,400, was from New Brunswick. As well, in four years of construction,
this project involved more than 400 New Brunswick companies, from major contractors to well drillers and hotels."
Lord said the 195 km length of the highway broke new ground in terms of its construction and operations and in the
measures taken to minimize its impact on the environment.
"This has been the largest highway construction project ever undertaken in our province," the premier said. "It has broken
new ground, not just by carving a new transportation corridor across New Brunswick, but in terms of the sheer magnitude
of the project and the number of people working on it."
The premier was joined by Leo McArthur, president of the MRDC, Transportation Minister Percy Mockler and Ermel
Hachey of St. Isodore Asphalt, who represented the more than 1,400 workers who took part in the construction of the
highway, its many bridges and other structures.
Mockler commended MRDC, its workers and contractors for their commitment to safety and their low accident rate.
"MRDC demonstrated its commitment to safety through the construction of this highway, resulting in this project having
one of the lowest accident rates of any major construction project in our province, with no fatalities," Mockler said.
"MRDC will continue this commitment to safety in operating the new highway."
Leo McArthur of MRDC reflected on the immense scope of the project for New Brunswick and the commitment of his
staff and contractors which allowed them to complete the highway ahead of schedule.
"A project of this size and scope has never been done before in this province - and rarely has such a project been
attempted elsewhere in North America," McArthur said. "Yet here we stand, on this historic day in New Brunswick, ready
to open the Fredericton-Moncton four-lane highway five weeks ahead of schedule."
The opening ceremonies were preceded by a public bridge walk from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It was announced the highway
would be opened to traffic at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in simultaneous ceremonies at River Glade/Havelock and at
EDITOR'S NOTE: Background information on the project is attached. MEDIA CONTACT: Amanda Harpelle, director of
communications, Office of the Premier, 506-453-2144; Sharon Pond, communications, MRDC, 506-357-1321.
Made in New Brunswick
- This is a New Brunswick highway - built by New Brunswickers, for New Brunswickers.
- 90 per cent of the workers who worked on the project were from New Brunswick.
- About 1400 workers were employed at peak in summer 2000.
- Over 400 New Brunswick companies contributed to the project, from major contractors to well drillers and hotels.
- $500,000 committed to UNB and U de M for research and development
- The total project cost is $910.67 million (net present value) including $576 million in construction costs.
- Largest highway construction project in New Brunswick history.
- No deaths during the construction of the highway - almost unheard of for a project of this size.
- Lost time due to accident rate was very low - many contractors had no lost time due to accidents at all.
- The government made a commitment to stop the collection of tolls on the Fredericton-Moncton highway. That
commitment was kept on March 1, 2000.
- Tolls amounted to an unfair tax on the users of the new four-lane highway.
- It was unfair to have tolls on one stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway and not on any other four-lane highway in the
- The total project cost without the tolls is now $910.67 million (net present value) instead of $945.17 million with the
tolls - a savings of $34.5 million to New Brunswick taxpayers. These savings result from the removal of the expensive
- 195 kilometres of four-lane highway from Longs Creek to Magnetic Hill.
- 21 interchanges (including four high speed interchanges).
- Five structures across rivers.
- St. John River bridge - fourth longest in province - 1,063 metres.
- Jemseg River bridge - fifth longest in province - 977 metres.
- 37 standard structures - (378 concrete beams).
- 26 open arch structures.
- 35 kilometres of wildlife fencing.
- 50 relocations of fibre optic, power and phone lines.
- Four new small arms ranges - CFB Gagetown.
- 19 million cubic metres of earth work.
- 300 kilometres of silt fencing.
- 8.5 million tonnes of crushed granular material.
- One million tonnes of asphalt (seven asphalt plants).
- 137 kilometres of guide rail.
- 458 pieces of heavy equipment, including 100 off-road trucks, with 35, 55 and 65 tonne capacities.
- 300 tandem tractor trailers hauling materials.
- Agreements signed with Maritime Road Development Corporation (MRDC) - January 22, 1998.
- Agreement to remove tolls announced March 1, 2000.
- New highway to be open to traffic by Nov. 30, 2001.
- Opening ceremony - Oct. 23, 2001.
- Opening to traffic - Oct. 24, 2001.
- Total completion required by June 30, 2002.
Fredericton-Moncton Highway Project
Examples of Innovative Construction Methods/Techniques/Material
- Guide rail end treatment - Energy-absorbing end treatments replaced
the buried end technique normally used by DOT.
- Rumble strips - Indentations were milled along the right side of
the highway, just outside the white edge line, to warn traffic when it strays
onto the right shoulder.
- Frangible (break-away) light bases - All light poles within 10 metres
of the traveled portion of the highway are equipped with a break-away connection
at the base which allows it to yield in the event of a collision, reducing
- Integral and/or semi-integral abutments - Many structures used this
type of abutment which eliminates the need for expansion joints on the surface.
This should reduce maintenance costs.
- Bibo arches - Large span pre-cast concrete arches were used in several
locations in place of conventional structures. These arches eliminate decks
and expansion joints, both of which can increase maintenance costs.
- Waste disposal - Extensive use was made of medians and other corridor
lands for the disposal of waste (stumps, brush, unusable material). This practice
conserved a considerable amount of land outside the highway corridor which
would have normally been used as disposal sites.
- Pavement structure - The pavement structure consists of a granular
sub base, granular base, asphalt concrete base and asphalt concrete surface.
In the past, DOT practice has been to use a consistent lift thickness of each
of these materials in all areas. On the new highway, MRDC has varied the thickness
of the granular portions depending on the underlying conditions. For example,
if you had a strong rock sub grade, then the granular pavement structure would
- Transportation/placement of granular material - Extensive use was
made of "belly dumps," a self unloading/spreading truck and trailer unit for
transporting and placing granular material.
- Hours of work - Some activities were carried out on a 24-hour-a-day,
7-day-per-week basis, such as placing fill on the Grand Lake Meadows. This
was accomplished with the use of lighting plants and shortened the time required
to complete this work.
- Checking grades - MRDC eliminated the need for centreline staking
during the placing of granular material, allowing for better compacting of
material at this critical area.
- Weather monitoring - The MRDC Integrated Management and Operations
Systems (IMOS) installed weather stations at strategic locations along the
highway. These allow staff to monitor weather conditions on site to assist
with winter maintenance activities. IMOS also introduced the use of brine
(salt dissolved in water) on their salt/sand units to increase the efficiency
of their winter road clearing operations.
Fredericton-Moncton Highway Project
Environmental, Wetland and Watercourse Management
Grand Lake Meadows
Watercourse Alteration Regulation
- Mitigation and Compensation Plan for Wetland Function Loss
- An estimated 55 hectares of habitat was directly impacted by the project.
- The plan required acquiring land both inside and outside of the Grand Lake
Meadows to compensate for the direct loss of wetland habitat in the Meadows
- A fund was established through the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund for
the Grand Lake Meadows Project Management Committee.
- Fuelling of equipment on the Grand Lake Meadows was restricted to two specifically
designed sites to prevent contamination of the wetland in the event of a spill.
- Environment and Local Government not only issued individual watercourse
alteration permits, but also issued permits on a construction section basis.
In order to streamline the permit approval process, a Suspended Solids Monitoring
Program was established. MRDC was required to monitor all watercourse crossings
and to pay an administrative penalty of $3,000 per occurrence when the suspended
solids concentration in the watercourse was greater than 300 milligrams per
MRDC Environmental Management Plan
Environmental Effects Monitoring Program
- Two salmonid (salmon and trout) stream crossings (Saunders Brook and Dingley
Brook) were built with spans of a minimum three times the bank full width.
- There are 42 stream crossings that require drainage structures with spans
greater than or equal to three metres. A total of 37 of these crossings require
- There are five deer crossings incorporated into the design of water crossing
- A generic environmental protection plan was prepared for the planning, design,
construction and operation/maintenance/rehabilitation phases of the project.
- Site-specific environmental protection plans were prepared for 49 sites
along the project.