Weight restriction to be lifted on Aroostook international bridge next month

3 weeks ago

MADAWASKA, Maine – The five-ton weight limit on the new Madawaska-Edmundston Bridge in Northern Aroostook County is expected to be lifted next month, allowing large trucks to drive between the American and Canadian communities for the first time in seven years.

The town’s old international bridge, which was built more than a century ago, was posted at five tons in 2017. This forced large trucks that normally crossed the St. John River to Edmundston from Madawaska to travel to either Fort Kent or Van Buren. These towns are each about a half hour drive from Madawaska. 

The old bridge was permanently closed on June 3 as officials prepared to open the new bridge on June 6. The new bridge project began over 20 years ago, when both Canadian and United States officials saw that the old bridge would need to be replaced soon. 

The total cost of the new bridge, including demolition of the old one, is $97.5 million.

Traffic approaches the new land port of entry connecting Madawaska and Edmundston last month. (Chris Bouchard | St. John Valley Times)

The new bridge, however, is also posted at five tons until contractors finish demolishing the abutment on the Canadian side which connected the old bridge. 

And while the Maine Department of Transportation expects to lift the weight limit in August, a specific date and time had not been set as of July 1.

It will be an immense help for local trucking companies as well as businesses like Twin Rivers Paper Company, which has facilities in Maine, New York, and Edmundston. The Twin Rivers operation in Aroostook County includes a paper mill in Madawaska and a pulp mill across the border in Edmundston. The lifted weight limit will significantly help the company’s operations near the border as trucks drive between the two facilities.

“Twin Rivers Paper looks forward to when the international bridge will be open to commercial truck traffic, enabling a much more efficient and cost-effective transportation route,” said Caryn King, Sr. Director of Marketing & Commercial Excellence at Twin Rivers Paper.

A ribbon cutting is planned for August 15 at the new bridge. The ceremony will include officials from both sides of the border.