January 15, 2004
(Works, Services and Transportation)


Long Island Causeway deferred indefinitely

Tom Rideout, Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, announced today that all work related to the construction of a causeway across Long Island Tickle has been deferred indefinitely. Minister Rideout also instructed the Department of Environment to withdraw the Environment Registration filed on September 10, 2003.

The proposed project was to include the construction of a rock fill causeway and a bridge structure across Long Island Tickle between Long Island and Pilley�s Island in Notre Dame Bay.

In November 2002, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation appointed AMEC Earth and Environmental to conduct a waterway users study to determine the project�s feasibility. AMEC consulted with users and suggested a bridge opening dimension of 6.3 metres high by 25.3 metres wide. The cost estimate in April 2003 for the project was $26 million. In August 2003, the department registered the project with the Canadian Coast Guard for further review under the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

"Since we�ve registered the project under the Navigable Waters Protection Act we�ve received considerable public response against the project as it was proposed," said Minister Rideout. "Many users have a problem with the recommended height of the bridge and some would be restricted from using the waterway at all, with a six metre high opening."

The Department of Works, Services and Transportation was advised that to satisfy requirements of the Navigable Waters Protection Act the bridge would require a 20 metre vertical clearance. "To accommodate this requirement, the bridge opening would also have to be made much larger and the design altered substantially. And we will need a much larger volume of rock, pushing the estimated cost of the project to as high as $35 million," said Minister Rideout.

"The province has significant infrastructure needs, especially in the area of preventative maintenance. Given our present fiscal situation, we simply cannot afford this project," said Minister Rideout. "The M/V Island Joiner will continue to provide Long Island with daily year-round ferry service for both passengers and vehicles."

Media contact: Deanne Hayward, Communications, (709) 729-3015.

2004 01 15                                      2:50 p.m.

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