Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are being provided a number of commuting alternatives designed to reduce traffic congestion due to construction on the Saint John Harbour Bridge.
Bridge traffic will be reduced to two lanes and the section of Harbour Passage that borders Long Wharf, Hilyard Street and the HMCS Brunswicker will be closed beginning May 15 and throughout the summer and fall.
“The work on the bridge is significant and vital to the transportation network in the City,” said Ivan Court, Mayor of Saint John. “Crews will use hydro-demolition, high pressure water to remove layers of concrete from the bridge, lane by lane. Public safety is of the utmost importance. The area will be dangerous during construction.”
“Inconveniences are unavoidable, I ask residents for their patience, cooperation and flexibility during this construction period. It has taken some time to ensure what we are suggesting is safe and viable and that emergency officials are onboard,” said Court. Officials with the Saint John Harbour Bridge Authority, NB Southern Railway, Saint John EMO, Saint John Police Force, Public Safety Communications Centre, the Saint John Fire Department, Saint John Transit, the Saint John Parking Commission and members of the City’s traffic division have been collaborating on the measures.
The affected area around Harbour Passage will be fenced during the construction and pedestrians are warned to heed the signage and fences. Pedestrians are warned not to use the railways tracks.
Alternate route designated for pedestrians
City officials are recommending that pedestrians use the North side of Main Street and to continue across the North side of the Viaduct, where there is a side walk. The route is accessible and the City will be repainting lines and adding additional traffic signage. The route will also be marked with a dashed red line and signage indicating the alternate route will be posted. Pedestrians are reminded to watch for approaching vehicles when using crosswalks.
The City is not able to make alternate arrangements for cyclists. Cyclists are encouraged to use Douglas Avenue and Main Street during the construction period. Cyclists and motorists are asked to practice safe driving and to keep an eye out for each other.
#15 Harbour Express bus will have priority access to the Bridge
Motorists exiting Highway 1 at the Red Rose Tea building will not be able to turn left onto Union Street. That left turn has been identified by Bridge officials as the main cause of traffic tie-ups. Temporary barriers will be up on Monday as a trial, separating the left lane from regular traffic prior to the exit.
City staff would be installing concrete Jersey barriers at a later date should the trial be successful.
Motorists are instead asked to choose one of a number of alternate routes and provide additional time for travel.
Owners of the Bowlarama on Lancaster Avenue have agreed to make parking in their back lot free for those who would like to take Saint John Transit from the west side. Two transit stops are within easy walking distance of the lot: Simms Corner, Uptown via the Reversing Falls Bridge; and Dunn Avenue where commuters can catch the Harbour Express route (15). This route will have priority access to the bridge on its morning runs.
“Parcobus” the in-city park and ride program, has a lot at 10 Stinson Drive – Lorneville Industrial Park. Motorists can take transit into the city or use the lot as a drop off point for ride sharing.
Commuters from all areas are encouraged to rideshare to alleviate congestion. The Saint John Parking Commission has a ride sharing website where commuters can sign up to find ride sharing partners in their area. Visit www.shareyourride.ca
Employers are asked to consider offering employees a “flex Schedule” around peak bridge access times (7:45am-8:45am and 4-5:30pm).
Fort LaTour will be available from the Long Wharf side only for the Reunion 2010, an outdoor summer concert series part of the City’s 225 celebrations, to be held on August 6 and 7.
Harbour Passage will open at the end of the construction season but close again in the 2011 season when the bridge refurbishment project resumes.
Other construction projects that will affect traffic
In addition to the refurbishment work scheduled for Saint John Harbour Bridge, there are many other ongoing and planned construction projects in and around the City that will impact the transportation network and traffic flows this construction season. Construction of the One Mile House overpass continues and will affect Route 1 and there are major projects on Rothesay Road, Bayside Dive, City Road, Station Street, Ocean Westway, and Market Place among others. Representatives of local road authorities - NB Department of Highways, the City of Saint John Police Force and Municipal Operations and Engineering, Harbour Bridge Authority and Town of Rothesay continue to meet to coordinate plans for the summer. Ongoing dialogue continues and a coordinated public information program will be maintained throughout the construction season as projects are carried out.
The Department of Transportation advises that Exit 125 for Crown Street in Saint John will be closed permanently on Tuesday May 18th. Motorists will be re-directed to a new ramp leading to Allison Road. This change in traffic pattern is part of province’s One Mile House Interchange project.
Please note that Route 1 westbound will be reduced to one lane in the construction area until approximately the end of June. Motorists should expect traffic delays, adjust their travel times and reduce their speed in the construction zone.