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July 23, 2019

Madawaska bridge replacement will get $36M

madawaska bridge
Courtesy / Maine DOT
The Madawaska International Bridge, built in 1920, is due to be replaced with the help of a $36 million federal grant.

The Maine Department of Transportation will receive a $36 million federal grant to fund about half the cost of replacing a crumbling, almost century-old bridge between Madawaska and Edmundston, New Brunswick.

Funds from a U.S. Transportation Department infrastructure program will go toward planned construction of a new span on the site of the “deteriorating” Madawaska International Bridge, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a news release Monday.

The 928-foot-long bridge, built in 1920, crosses the Saint John River and provides a vital link for residents and businesses in both Maine and New Brunswick.

In 2017, the bridge was deemed “fracture critical” with numerous deteriorating support beams, decking and substructures. Since then, Maine and New Brunswick officials have limited bridge traffic to vehicles less than 5 tons, which excludes most commercial trucks.

The weight limit and temporary closures of the bridge this week have forced many residents and businesses to make long detours.

Twin Rivers Paper Co., one of the largest employers in northern Maine, “has had to reroute large trucks through Van Buren, adding up to 75 miles and nearly two hours of travel time round-trip as well as incurring millions of dollars in increased transportation costs,” said Collins.

The total cost of replacing the bridge is estimated at $73.5 million, with the remaining funding to come from MaineDOT and the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, according to the release.

“This award represents a significant leap forward in our work to build a new, more-modern link between Madawaska and Edmundston, New Brunswick,” said MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note in a statement.

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July 23, 2019

Is there any chance Senator Susan Collins can ensure those $36 million tax dollars won't get wasted? This looks and smells like another example of pork barrel spending by our government leaders, and our national debt will only get worse if it's allowed to continue. Have you had enough yet?

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