PORT HASTINGS: The Canso Causeway swing bridge is open again for car and similar vehicle traffic and is on target to open to marine traffic by the middle of the month.

“There is still some wiring and some activities taking place on site,” said Andrew MacPherson, project engineer with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DTIR).

“It’s not ready [for marine traffic] just yet but I am pretty sure it is going to be ready for May 15.”

Upgrade work on the Causeway began in January 2016. On October 27, the DTIR announced the Canso Canal would close to marine traffic from November 1 to May 14 to allow for upgrades and repair work on the swing bridge. The work includes upgrades to the swing bridge, a new operators’ building, as well as structural, mechanical, and electrical repairs.

MacPherson said cars were able to cross the swing bridge on Easter Sunday. He also said the department will be pleased when the swing bridge is available to accommodate marine traffic.

“That will be a big milestone in the project,” he said.

“Basically, that’s the whole purpose of the project. We’ll be quite satisfied. There will still be work going on. It doesn’t mean it is finished. We’ll still be around doing some landscaping, tidying up, clean up, little things like that.”

MacPherson previously said work on the base of the Causeway, which involved the restoration of armourstone, wrapped up in mid-January. He said the work was separate from the work being done by the general contractor on the swing bridge.

The federal government turned over the swing bridge to the province in 2014. The federal government provided the province with $9 million for work on the bridge and Causeway. The total cost of the work was estimated at between $11-12 million, with the province footing the rest of the bill.

Maple Signs and Engraving worked on the “Welcome to Cape Breton” placard which is on display on the side of the bridge facing the mainland. Sharon Dorton, manager of Maple Signs and Engraving, said Allsteel Coatings brought the aluminum for the sign to the local business.

“We had done the digital print and put it together for them,” she said. “We made the sign but [Allsteel Coatings] installed it.”

Dorton said it is wonderful to be a part of anything pertaining to Cape Breton.