SHUBENACADIE - It will be a smoother ride for motorists leaving and entering Colchester County on Highway 102 near Shubenacadie, but not for a while yet.
Maurice Smith, Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal minister, said crews are working on both north and southbound bridges at the Colchester-East Hants county line.
"The decks need replacing," said Smith. "It's a pretty big project. Right now they are constructing a temporary bridge between the two existing structures, so that when they take out one bridge there won't be any interruptions for motorists."
Both bridges are expected to have their decking replaced. The makeover is costing the province $23 million and the work is expected to take until June 2015 to complete.
The southbound lane will be replaced first.
"The province has a five-year plan when it comes to roads and bridges in the province and this is part of that five-year plan," Smith said. "Every year, the bridges in Nova Scotia are inspected."
Built in the 1970s, the bridges haven't had any major work, believes Smith, other than regular maintenance.
"I'm not sure if we've had any complaints, but even I know it's a rough and bumpy ride going toward Halifax.
"For us, it's a safety issue. We want to keep our bridges up. It's certainly safe today, but we're doing the replacing so it doesn't get in a situation where it isn't safe for motorists. It's preventative work," said Smith.
The temporary bridge the construction crews are currently working on cost $1.5 million, which is factored into the $23-million total cost.
"The panel bridge is reusable, so when we're done with it in Shubenacadie, we can take it to other places in the province," said Smith.
With days becoming longer, Smith said it's up to the contractor as to how long crews work, and whether or not they work on weekends.
"If they have a deadline to reach, they will work to meet that deadline," he said.