Crews are hard at work in Fort Kent — they continue to make progress on the new international bridge, which should be open to traffic towards the end of the summer – but before then, there will be some vehicle restrictions. From June 16th through July 13th, vehicles inbound and outbound measuring 9 feet wide by 12 feet high and 22 feet long and larger won’t be allowed on the bridge –and from July 15th through the 28th, those entering the United States are limited to those smaller than 9 feet wide by 12 feet high and 22 feet long – and vehicles leaving the US to enter Canada have to be shorter than 49 feet.
“We tried to get that restriction down to as least imposing as we could — it’s an inconvenience for them for that six week period but knowing that it’s going to be much better when we’re done, ” said Deryle Sponberg.
According to MDOT, during those weeks, they’ll be constructing booths and canopies – and they’re encouraging large trucks to use alternate routes, including the border crossing at Madawaska. Sponberg says the new bridge will be fully open to traffic by July 31st – and they won’t be doing any construction during the World Acadian Congress.
“That gives us about a week before the Congress so we’ll be ready for the increased traffic through the port facility and across the new bridge by then,” he said.
Sponberg says the New Brunswick Department of Transportation will be putting out bids for the demolition of the old bridge.
“I would expect they would have a big part of that done this fall and part of me thinks by next spring it will be totally out of there,” he said.
In the meantime, crews are currently working on raising main street in Fort Kent by 30 inches, which has traffic reduced to one lane- they’ll be paving it next week, but Sponberg says throughout the summer they’ll be working on various things so drivers on Main Street can expect it to be reduced to one lane at times.