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Canadian government transfers control of highway/rail swing bridge to Nova Scotia

The Canadian government will transfer control and ownership of the Canso Causeway and swing bridge to the province of Nova Scotia, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced on Tuesday.

The transfer includes a government funding commitment of up to $9 million to rehabilitate infrastructure at the causeway, the only surface transportation link between mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. Opened in 1955, the causeway includes the swing bridge that features two lanes of Highway 104 and a single-track line operated by the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway (CBNS).

From 1955 to 1993, the bridge was owned and operated by CN. In 1993, ownership was transferred to CBNS — which is owned by Genesee & Wyoming Inc. — after it purchased the 245-mile, Truro-to-Sydney line.

Repairs to the swing bridge will extend its life by 25 years, said Geoff MacLellan, the province's minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal, in a press release.

"Assuming full control of the Canso Causeway is good news for the province, recognizing the causeway is a critical piece of infrastructure linking Cape Breton and Newfoundland to mainland Nova Scotia," he said.

The province is "best positioned" to operate and support the causeway, which is a key intra-provincial transportation link, said Raitt.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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