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A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge in St. Martins on Sept. 1, 2022. From left to right: Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jill Green, St. Martins Mayor Bette Ann Chatterton, Tourism Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace, and Premier Blaine Higgs. Image: Brad Perry

UPDATED: New Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge Officially Open

By Brad Perry Sep 1, 2022 | 4:50 PM

New Brunswick’s first two-lane covered bridge is now officially open in the village of St. Martins.

Dozens gathered near the new Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge on Thursday afternoon to mark the occasion.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jill Green said it is the first covered bridge built in the province since 1951.

Green said the project was completed in about 14 months, with the request for proposals going out just after Easter of 2021.

“The contractor chosen right away. The project manager that worked with the contractor started in July of last year,” Green told reporters on Thursday.

“It’s a year and a few months later. It’s absolutely incredible.”

The original Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge, which was constructed in 1935, was closed in 2017 after being deemed unsafe due to deterioration.

A temporary single-lane modular bridge was installed next to it so access through the community could be maintained.

The new bridge was designed to accommodate larger vehicles, has two lanes of traffic instead of one, and has a pedestrian walkway.

The new Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge in St. Martins. Image: Brad Perry

Tourism Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace said the new bridge will serve as the gateway to one of our most popular tourism destinations.

“The Fundy Trail Parkway welcomed more than 60,000 people in 2021. As of July, 40,000 visitors have already experienced the Fundy Trail Parkway [this season],” said Scott-Wallace.

St. Martins Mayor Bette Ann Chatterton said the new bridge will be a bonus for residents and tourists.

“Folks that come on the bus tours we have through the summer, it’ll be faster to get up through the Fundy Trail and see all of the wonderful things up there,” Chatterton said in an interview earlier this week.

According to the province, the new bridge was elevated to accommodate potential flooding over its anticipated 75-year lifespan.

The bridge superstructure is made of single-span wooden timbers that have been pressure-treated to help prevent rot and provide a service life of about 75 years.

The main façade is made of the same materials as the original bridge: hemlock and cedar from Norton. Part of the original façade was salvaged and donated to the Village of St. Martins.

Officials said the total cost of the project was about $6.7 million, which included the installation of the temporary modular bridge. More than $5 million came from the province, with the rest being contributed by the federal government.


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