© SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN
The Covehead bridge is set to re-open to one way traffic on April 15
In spite of being off-season, the Wharf Road has remained a popular drive for Islanders this winter.
That's because people are driving to the harbour, via Stanhope, to watch work being done on the Covehead Bridge.
"There are tractors and backhoes, various types of equipment, moving around on top of the bridge. There's one fellow, maybe two, working on a platform underneath the bridge, close to the water. It looks like quite the challenge," says Stanhope resident John MacDougall, who dropped by to watch construction workers recently, amid high winds and high surf.
Situated in the P.E.I. National Park, the Covehead Bridge is closed to traffic until spring. And if everything goes according to schedule, in a few months, fishing boats and visitors will return to Covehead Harbour, and Richard's Fresh Seafood will open for another busy season.
"The bridge is expected to open to one-lane of traffic with stop-and-go lights on April 15. By July we'll have two lanes open," says Bill Courtney, asset manager with Parks Canada.
The repairs are part of $24 million in federal funding to upgrade facilities and infrastructure at P.E.I. National Park.
"The bridge is 50 years old now and we're doing a rehabilitation project on it."
That involves replacing concrete, putting armour stone around the east and west abutments and removing steel sheeting from around the beach areas.
"It had become rusted and sharp and a safety hazard."
Construction also includes paving and widening the bridge, with a three-metre sidewalk for pedestrians and cyclists.
That's good news, says MacDougall, a cyclist.
"It's always been pretty tricky there. So this is going to be terrific. There are a lot of us out here who do a lot of biking and we're really looking forward to the new bike lane."