April 14, 2010
MONCTON(CNB) - The Petitcodiac Causeway gates officially opened in Moncton today, as the Department of Supply and Services began Phase 2 of the Petitcodiac Causeway River Project.
"We are pleased to continue our work to restore the Petitcodiac River by opening the causeway gates," said Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty. "By carrying out Phase 2 of this project, we are allowing the river to flow freely, creating unobstructed fish passage in the river system."
The three-phase project must comply with conditions approved by the Department of Environment set out by a federal-provincial Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Phase 1 involved planning, remediation and site preparation to prevent erosion. This included shoreline and erosion protection up and down the river channel, waterline relocation, drainage improvements, and dike and aboiteaux construction.
Phase 2 involves allowing the river to flow freely as a tidal river. With the gates open, the seasonal response will be monitored for up to two annual cycles as the river, fish population, and the surrounding habitat adjust to the change.
Phase 3 involves the construction of a 280-m bridge. The structure will have four lanes of traffic, and it will tie into the existing Findlay Boulevard and approach ramps on the Riverview side of the Petitcodiac River. Construction will take three to four years. When the new bridge is completed, the existing gate structure will be removed to allow for an eventual river opening about 225 m wide.
The causeway was built in 1968 with the collaboration, financial support and approval of the federal government. Federal involvement later included a federal/provincial memorandum of understanding to develop a long-term solution to fish passage, which was signed in 1996. In 2000, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a thorough review of all issues surrounding the causeway.
"This is an exciting milestone for the province of New Brunswick as we look towards the future of this important project," said Doherty. "While the opening of the gates shows the restoration process, it also reflects the government's commitment to the transformation of the Petitcodiac River."
MEDIA CONTACT: Sheri Strickland, communications, Department of Supply and Services, 506-457-7903.