After decades of promotion by several individuals, and, in particular, Dr. Mitchell Franklin, the Provincial and Federal governments committed to funding development of the Fundy Trail Parkway. A formal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was completed for the entire Parkway in 1993-94. This assessment included the coastal Parkway as well as the upgrades of the linkage roads necessary to connect the coastal Parkway to Sussex and Alma – Fundy National Park.
Construction of the Parkway started in 1995. This Phase I of the Parkway (about 10 km) was funded with income generated from investments in a $ 10.0 Million Trust Fund established with $ 5.0 Million contributions from each of the Provincial and Federal Governments. Phase I was opened in August of 1998.
In 2007 additional funding was established and construction started on Phase II of the Parkway. The first major contract for Phase II was for construction of the Big Salmon River bridge and associated approach facilities. At the same time, a second EIA was initiated.
An additional 3.5 km section of Parkway roadway to Long Beach Lookout, was opened to the public in June of 2010. In 2013 an additional funding package enabled starting construction for the 3 km section of Parkway roadway including direct access to the spectacular Long Beach – with a wheelchair accessible observation deck immediately adjacent to the high tide line at the beach.
The parking facilities at this location also provide direct access to a 0.7 km footpath to the falls on Long Beach Brook and a direct, convenient connection to the Fundy Footpath which links Big Salmon River to Fundy National Park. These facilities were opened to the public in May of 2016.
The 11 km of Parkway roadway and associated facilities between Long Beach/Tufts Point area and the east end of the Park in the McCumber Brook/Walton Glen Gorge/Falls area were constructed during the 2015 to 2017 construction seasons.
Construction of the upgrades to the provincial road linkages to Sussex and Alma – Fundy National Park by the NB Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is expected to start in the spring of 2018 thus completing the final link along the Bay of Fundy Coastal Drive.
The Fundy Trail Parkway officially opened its west gate on August 29, 1998 showcasing the first 10 km phase of the parkway. The 30 km parkway will soon be accessible from both entrances. The connector road to Sussex is scheduled to open in 2020 and the road to Alma is scheduled to open in 2021. This will result in a significant economic impact for the Province of New Brunswick and will help to establish a spectacular, scenic coastal link between Saint John, Sussex and Moncton, joining the entire southern portion of the province from St. Stephen in the west right to Sackville in the east. Completion of this infrastructure will integrate the four top Natural Attractions – Fundy Trail Parkway, Fundy National Park, Hopewell Rocks and Cape Enrage into a consolidated group of first-class coastal tourism attractions which, collectively, will create a World Class Signature Coastal Area called the Fundy Coastal Drive.