Madawaska/Edmundston International Bridge
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Existing Bridge Conditions
After nearly 100 years of service, the Madawaska/Edmundston International Bridge is in poor condition. Despite efforts to maintain the bridge, the rate of deterioration has accelerated to the point that the end of the useful service life is fast approaching. In October 2017, the bridge was posted at five tons (the equivalent of a passenger vehicle). Therefore, any substantial investments would be impractical. Since this bridge is nearly 100 years old, it no longer meets the needs of the communities and local businesses because of it's width and load capacity. It would cost more to upgrade the current bridge than to build a new one.
In May of 2018, the Madawaska/Edmundston International Bridge and Border Crossing Feasibility Study was finalized by MaineDOT, the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (NBDTI), and the US General Services Administration (GSA). The study recommended that a new bridge connect the existing border station in Edmundston, NB to a fully-modernized station in Madawaska. This bridge will be built approximately 1,300 feet upriver on the St. John.
MaineDOT Awards Construction Contract for Madawaska-Edmundston International Bridge Project
AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) has awarded the construction contract for the Madawaska-Edmundston International Bridge Project to Reed & Reed, Inc. of Woolwich. The construction phase of this project is the result of a productive collaboration between MaineDOT and the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (NBDTI). This project also involves detailed coordination with federal agencies in both the United States and Canada.
This project will replace the bridge that provides a critical connection between Madawaska, Maine and Edmundston, New Brunswick. The current structure is 100 years old and approaching the end of its useful life. The bridge deck and superstructure are in poor condition and show signs of advanced deterioration. Since October 2017, the International Bridge has been posted at a five-ton weight limit, creating a significant detour. Furthermore, the existing building and site of the land port of entry on the U.S. side are substandard and need to be replaced.
The new bridge will be constructed on a new alignment: it will cross the St. John River at an approximately 45-degree angle and be located approximately 1,400 feet upstream from the existing bridge. Because of this new alignment, the new structure will be nearly twice the length of the existing one. The new bridge will feature wider travel lanes and added shoulders on both sides. There will also be a raised sidewalk on the downstream side of the new bridge. The new bridge will be constructed using steel girders supported on concrete substructures and is designed to last 100 years.
MaineDOT advertised this contract for bids on December 23rd and opened bids on February 24th. Three contractors (two in Maine and one in New Brunswick) had been pre-qualified to bid on this project. The two Maine companies submitted bids; the New Brunswick company did not. The low bidder was Reed & Reed with a bid of $86,532,251. This bid results in a total project cost of approximately $10.9 million more than previous estimates. This is a large, complex, multi-year project, and both MaineDOT and NBDTI have agreed to move forward with awarding this critical contract.
MaineDOT released the latest edition of its three-year Work Plan in January. Since the development of this year’s Work Plan, the U.S. Department of Transportation has authorized the amount for the Highway Infrastructure Program (HIP) at a level $15.7 million higher than MaineDOT’s original projections. This funding will be used to cover the cost overages on the International Bridge Project.
The total project cost will be $97.5 million. In 2019, this project received a $36-million Infrastructure for Rebuilding American (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. The remaining costs are being shared by MaineDOT and NBDTI.
“The year-long challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have laid bare the importance of the connections between Maine and Canada,” said MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note. “We are eager to move forward with this project to greatly improve one of these vital connection points. This new bridge will improve safety and support economic activities on both sides of the international border.”
“This international bridge is more than just a piece of infrastructure: it is an important link that brings communities and countries together,” said New Brunswick’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jill Green. “This project will contribute to our priority of energizing the private sector by facilitating the movement of people and goods. This will allow our businesses to remain competitive while fostering economic growth in the region.”
Jackson Parker, CEO of Reed & Reed, Inc. said, “Reed & Reed is pleased to be rebuilding this critical link between families, communities, and nations. We will be looking to hire locally as much as possible. We have a long history of building bridges for MaineDOT, beginning in 1928 with a $1,676 contract to replace a bridge in Hermon. We are excited to begin work on this project.”
Construction work is expected to begin later this month. We anticipate opening the new bridge to traffic by the end of 2023. Demolition of the old bridge is scheduled to begin once traffic is moved onto the new bridge. The estimated final completion date of this project is June 30th, 2025.
Design and construction of the new land port of entry on the U.S. side is a separate project being administered by the U.S. General Services Administration.