NAPPAN – Cumberland County’s two MLAs are urging Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to pick up the pace with replacing what’s known locally as the Rainbow Bridge over the Nappan River on Highway 2 just outside Amherst.
“I’m hearing a lot of complaints from residents about the inconvenience of the detour and now the road that’s being used as the detour is beginning to crumble,” Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin said Sunday.
Smith-McCrossin said department officials have told her they are awaiting an engineering report on what should be done. She feels the study should be done by now and accused the department of dragging its feet.
“It should have been completed long before this,” she said. “We’re going to put a bit of pressure on them and give the people of this area a voice through the petition.”
She and Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie have begun a petition they hope will force the department to move quicker in replacing the bridge that was closed several weeks ago amid structural concerns.
In an email, Marla MacInnis from Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said options for the bridge are being reviewed.
“We have engaged an engineering consultant to review options for the Cum 011 Nappan Marsh Bridge (Rainbow Bridge),” she said. “Options that are being evaluated range from repairs to the existing bridge to a full permanent replacement. Once the consultant’s report is complete, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will review and determine the best approach moving forward. The timeline will be dependent on which option is chosen.”
She said the detour is via Route 302, Southampton Road and Smith Road.
“It is intended for all traffic to take this road,” she said. “The smaller bridge is a single-lane structure and is not ideal for increased traffic volumes, so we encourage motorists to use the directed detour.”
Smith-McCrossin said she has been told it could take up to two years to repair the bridge, something she feels is unacceptable.
Baillie said county residents deserve safe and reliable roads.
“The detour suggested by the department is a Band-Aid. The condition of the alternative road is deteriorating, and involves a one-way bridge that isn’t suitable for all this extra traffic,” Baillie said in a press release. “This is not a sustainable option for two years of detour. The Liberal government must fix this bridge sooner than later.”
Smith-McCrossin and Baillie will table the petition in the upcoming spring session of the legislature.