In New Brunswick, there is a bridge that extends from the shores of the Abegweit Passage all the way to Prince Edward Island. Once referred to as the Fixed Link, the Confederation Bridge PEI is an iconic part of this maritime province. Prior to the construction of the bridge, those that were located on Prince Edward Island were only able to navigate back and forth across the Northumberland Strait using ferries that were constantly traversing the waters. It wasn’t until the 1990s that this bridge was proposed, and subsequently built, and iconic part of Canada. Here is an overview of how it was made, and and why there was so much controversy surrounding this bridge that is so well known in Eastern Canada.
The Confederation Bridge
Just over the United States and Canada border, this bridge is the sole connecting link between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. It connects the eastern provinces of Canada with New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, making any traveling through the Maritimes convenience and easy. It extends 8 miles, going across the waters which are sometimes completely covered with ice. It is a curved bridge, one of the top engineering achievements in Canada’s history, if not in the 20th century.
How Was It Built?
The base material of this bridge is high-grade concrete, extremely durable because of the reinforcing steel used in the construction process. There were many precast components that were all built on land, built as large as possible so that it would last at least a century. The pieces were so heavy that the soil base upon which they rested required additional strengthening and a crawler transport system was designed to transition the pieces that were made into storage. These were subsequently moved to the pier on Teflon coated concrete rails where they would be moved onto specially built catamarans. Each of the bases, spans, and ice shields were moved one by one, starting from the bottom up. Once it was done, it was the tallest man-made structure in the province, it is definitely noticeable by residents and tourists that come into New Brunswick.
The Cost Of The Bridge And Revenue
The total cost of the bridge was over C$1 billion. To generate this money, bonds were issued. The revenue generated from the bridge is actually quite extensive, charging almost C$50 for two axle automobiles, and nearly C$20 for motorcycles. To maintain strict use of vehicles only, pedestrians are not allowed to walk across the bridge. The cost is reduced by half if you have arrived at either New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island by ferry, and you are traveling back across the bridge. This has brought what a bit of revenue into this area, and people are now more accepting of the bridge than they were, especially prior to its proposal. It is definitely something that people should see, and definitely cross, if they ever had into northeastern Canada.
Although this bridge was initially rejected, and then sorely thought by proponents of the ferry system, it stands today as a testament to those that realized how necessary a connecting link between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick actually was. It is a beautiful bridge, constructed to last for at least a century, and is very convenient for those on either side. It is also representative of one of the greatest architectural feats in Canada’s history, and contributes to the beauty of those that live adjacent to the Northumberland Strait.
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