Fredericton asks drivers to change habits while Westmorland Bridge under construction – New Brunswick

FREDERICTON – The city of Fredericton is warning drivers a 12 week rehabilitation project on the city’s Westmorland St. Bridge will create some serious traffic delays over the summer if people don’t change their driving habits.

The Government of New Brunswick is investing $4.3-million into the project, including $950,000 for paving Devonshire Drive.

Construction begins June 23.

“There’s two phases in the project. Phase one will be on the upriver side of the bridge and all the associated ramps,” said Darren Charters, the city’s traffic engineer.

“Essentially they’re cutting the bridge in half and working on half at a time. Once they’re done of the upriver side, they’ll flip it and work on the down river side lanes, and ramps, so the ramps is what makes it very difficult for access to the bridge.”

The City of Fredericton has the summer’s construction projects identified on their website.

City of Fredericton

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Over 51, 000 vehicles use the bridge each day. Once the project is complete, the bridge is expected to be able to withstand decades of traffic, connecting the south side to the north side of the city.

In the meantime, the city is asking the public to change their commute if they routinely use the bridge, or use a different mode of transportation.

“Walking, cycling, active transportation, carpooling is huge, there’s not many people in Fredericton who carpool and that makes a huge difference. Using transit is a big advantage to the traffic congestion,” Charters said.

For phase one of the project, people will be unable to cycle or walk across the bridge for safety reasons.

READ MORE: Westmorland Street Bridge Construction 2014

Some sustainable transportation advocates are hoping the project will mean more people turning to other methods of transportation.

“Get on your bike, drive to work, you get yourself to work, you change, you’re healthy, you’re happy and you’re ready to tackle your day,” said Dorian Beggs, with Capital City Cycles. “And at the end of the day, you’ll be driving by everyone who’s steaming in traffic.”

Capital City Cycles is a community program trying to get more bicycles and less vehicles on Fredericton roads.

The city is also hoping more people will turn to Fredericton transit. There have been complaints about a lack of frequency and the need for transit in growing areas of the city.

The transit system hasn’t changed significantly in two decades, and both sides of the city have become much denser over the past 20 years.

The city is hosting two open houses, asking for people’s input in ways to improve the transit system.

READ MORE: Transit changes to be presented at open houses

Making the changes will take some time, but for this summer, it could be a better option than driving, the city says.

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