'It’s been a long five years': Mira Gut bridge in Cape Breton officially reopens | RiseNB

‘It’s been a long five years’: Mira Gut bridge in Cape Breton officially reopens

It could seem hard to believe that hundreds of people would show up for the grand opening of a bridge, but that happened in Mira Gut, N.S. on Friday.

Residents say the bridge is quite literally what connects the community.

“Oh, I think it’s fantastic,” said area resident Helen Horne.

At 94-years-old, Horne has been around long enough to remember much of the history of the old bridge that once spanned the Mira River and she was front and centre on Friday to see the new one.

“It’s something to look forward to, and now it’s here,” she said. “I hope to enjoy it.”

It’s been a long road since the old bridge rusted out in 2017, leaving the community divided.

Community members and politicians had to push to get a new one.

“It’s been a long five years,” said Progressive Conservative MLA Brian Comer.

A 20-minute detour in place the past few years for first responders and residents has now been reduced to a matter of seconds.

“I think it’s a big sigh of relief for me, for certain, and I think for many people in the community as well,” Comer said.

In many ways, Friday’s celebration belonged to local resident Bob Martell – best known in the community as “Bridge Man Bob.”

“I spent 36 years opening and closing that bridge by hand and to see a bridge there like it is, it’s wonderful,” he said.

Boats don’t need that kind of help to get under the new bridge, but it turns out Martell’s duties haven’t entirely come to an end.

“I clean the beach every morning at Mira Gut at 4:30,” Martell said.

The old bridge lasted more than 100 years and the hope is the new one will stand a hundred more.

“I want to jump off it, but they won’t let me,” Horne quipped – referring to the long summertime tradition of teens jumping off the old bridge.

Instead, she got a drive across the new span, while others can now walk to visit their neighbours.

The new Mira Gut Bridge cost more than $6 million, but if you ask people who live in the area, being reconnected is priceless.  

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