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  • Bangor Daily News

    New Madawaska international bridge opens to traffic

    By Christopher Bouchard,

    MADAWASKA, Maine — Madawaska now has a new port of entry and a new bridge connecting to Edmundston, New Brunswick in Canada. The bridge and port opened to traffic late Thursday morning. The project has been in the works for over 20 years
    , when officials on both sides of the border saw that the old bridge would soon be nearly 100 years of age. Both Canada and the United States began working on a way to update the bridge without interrupting international traffic. At roughly the same time, officials from the General Services Administration, Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection discussed updating Madawaska’s port of entry. The port was built in 1959 and could not be expanded. It also did not have adequate office and inspection space to meet the CBP’s needs. The new $65 million port of entry will not only meet officials’ continually evolving needs, but it is also certified energy efficient and sustainable by the U.S. Green Building Council.
    “After years of planning and coordination, we’re proud to complete this complex project,” Glenn Rotondo, Region 1 Public Buildings Service Commissioner, said of the new port of entry. The new port connects to the newly finished bridge, which connects the two countries diagonally over the St. John River. The old bridge officially closed on June 3 . It was posted at five tons in 2017, requiring large trucks to travel to either Fort Kent or Van Buren to cross the border. These towns are each roughly half an hour away from Madawaska.
    The new bridge will also be posted at five tons until contractors finish demolishing the abutment on the Canadian side that connected to the old bridge. The bridge was awarded to Woolwich contractor Reed & Reed for the low bid of $86.5 million in 2021. With demolition costs factored in, the total project costs about $97.5 million. Maine DOT spokesperson Paul Merrill said the new bridge is one of the largest and most complex projects they have tackled in recent years. Additionally, they also started construction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The project would not have been possible without the collaboration of local, state, provincial, and federal agencies in both countries, Merrill said. “Everyone involved in this massive project can be proud of what we have been able to accomplish together,” Merrill said. Madawaska Interim Town Manager Dan Foster said the completion of the bridge and port of entry is a significant milestone that will undoubtedly enhance the region’s connectivity, trade and travel.
    “The vision and commitment to this project have paved the way for smoother operations and increased efficiency,” Foster said. “Here’s to the success of this vital infrastructure, bringing new opportunities and growth to Madawaska. Well done to everyone involved in making this project a reality.” Merrill said a multi-agency ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for August 15 of this year.
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