Excavator stuck in historic N.B. covered bridge raising safety concerns
The excavator that fell through the bottom of one of New Brunswick’s oldest covered bridges earlier in October is now raising safety concerns from residents in the area.
The big machine has become more than an inconvenience for neighbours in French Village, N.B., who say they’re worried for what would happen if there were an emergency.
"We do have a lot of older people that live on this road and that's why I'm concerned about the safety,” said nearby resident Bonnie Kellar. “Not really for myself, but my mother-in-law is up in years, you got a lady up here with a bad heart, she worries about it.”
The excavator became stuck in the century-old bridge while carrying a load of timber. Engineers are still trying to figure out the best strategy for removing the machine without wrecking the bridge.
Without use of the bridge there is a 20 to 30 minute detour around to get to into Saint John or to go towards Hampton that's causing issues for both old and young.
“I normally have to get up around like 6:30 but now I have to wake up around 5 (a.m.) so it's a much bigger difference,” said nearby resident Gillian Kellar. “I have to go out to the bus stop in the dark so that doesn't help anything, and we also have to transfer buses and I'm also really early for school.”
The Department of Transportation installed a temporary support structure to stabilize the span, but so far, no date has been set to remove the excavator.
"They put the support beams in and they were hoping to have the excavator out of here by mMnday at the latest. That's what I was told. I was hoping it would be yesterday before all the rain starts to come," said Bonnie Kellar.
The transpiration department says a further inspection needs to be completed on the rest of the bridge before the machine can be removed.
Residents hope that happens sooner than later.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Blackford.