Confederation Bridge

46.206111111111 - 63.751666666667Koordinaten: 46 ° 12 ' 22 " N, 63 ° 45 ' 6 " W


Northumberland Strait

The Confederation Bridge (French Pont de la Confédération ) is a bridge opened in 1997 on the narrowest point of the Northumberland Strait ( Abegweit Passage) in eastern Canada. It connects Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island Iceland, with the province located on the mainland of New Brunswick. The name Confederation Bridge ( Konföderationsbrücke ) refers to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 in Charlottetown, the provincial capital of Prince Edward Iceland, where the basis for the Canadian confederation was laid. Until the completion of the bridge in 1997 was a ferry across the Abegweit Passage. The box girder bridge with a length of 12.88 kilometers, the longest bridge in Canada and amongst the longest in the world. It is regarded as one of the world's most important bridge structures. Due to the adverse climatic conditions, most parts of the bridge were prefabricated on land, towed by a crane vessel into place and assembled there. Construction costs amounted to about 1 billion Canadian dollars.

  • 4.1 Architecture and Construction
  • 4.2 Materials and specifications
  • 4.3 Safety Precautions
  • 4.4 toll


The two-lane, toll bridge connects the Cape Tormentine in New Brunswick on the Canadian mainland with Port Borden on Prince Edward Iceland. The bridge forms a portion of the Trans -Canada Highway. The coming of New Brunswick New Brunswick Route 16 is in the middle of the bridge to Prince Edward Iceland Route 1 The Confederation Bridge is not only the longest bridge in Canada, but also the longest bridge in the world that leads a satisfied Rendes waters. The Northumberland Strait is up to 35 meters deep at the site of the bridge.

The Confederation Bridge is generally only called by the inhabitants of Prince Edward Iceland "The Bridge". During the planning and construction phase and before the election of the official name in 2006 it was known as the " Fixed Link ".


The first links to the mainland

In February 1775, the first British Governor Walter Patterson led some islanders to transport mail across the frozen ice of the Northumberland Strait. The people used canoes for the ice-free spacers. This path between Wood Iceland ( now St. John's Iceland ) at the southeastern tip of Prince Edward Iceland Pictou Nova Scotia had proven itself to making it the first documented secure connection. In subsequent years, this track is frequented sporadically by small sailing boats; However, in the winter months they had to be laboriously pushed through the icy surfaces. This arduous task sometimes prisoners were commissioned.

Constitution contractual obligation

Prince Edward Iceland joined until 1 July 1873, Canadian Confederation, six years later than the neighboring province of New Brunswick. The federal government committed itself in summer and winter to ensure a permanent connection between the island and the rail network of the Intercolonial Railway on the mainland. It states in the Prince Edward Iceland Terms of Union, which are part of the Canadian Constitution:

"Efficient steam service for the conveyance of mails and passengers to be established and maintained in between the Iceland and the mainland of the Dominion, winter and summer, Malthus Placing the Iceland in continuous communication with the Intercolonial Railway and the railway system of the Dominion [ ... ] "

" A well-functioning steamboat traffic for carriage of mail and passengers should be established and maintained between the island and the mainland of the Dominion, in winter and in summer, so as to bring the island into a steady traffic connections with the Intercolonial Railway and the railway system of the Dominion [...] "

Ferry 1915-1997

To comply with this agreement, had to be created a ferry across the Northumberland Strait. Ferries combined Charlottetown and Georgetown Pictou in Nova Scotia and Summerside with Shediac, New Brunswick. However, the most frequented route was via the Abegweit Passage. Since the steamships initially deployed there were underpowered, they could only run irregularly in winter. Care was even granted a discount because the captain was dependent on the assistance of the passengers. Some of the ships remained stuck for days in ice. This unsatisfactory situation meant that between the new ports Port Borden - after the politician Robert Borden named - and Cape Tormentine was established in the 1910s, a new rail ferry.

The commitment of the government from 1912 led three years later to open a more efficient ferry service. To this end, the federal government bought the private rail link between Sackville and Cape Tormentine and was simultaneously an order for an icebreaking train ferry on. The first ship named Prince Edward Iceland wrong on the old steamboat route and was in use from 1915 to 1968. In the first two years, the responsibility for the ferry service in the Canadian Government Railways (1917-1918) was; later, she was transferred to the Canadian National Railway ( 1918-1977 ). 1977, the subsidiary CN Marine split off, which went into the Marine Atlantic in 1986.

The following ships - at the marked ( E) ships are ice breakers - got the ferry service this route upright:

Suggestions and referendum

Proposals for a so-called "Fixed Link ", a firm connection between Prince Edward Iceland and the Canadian mainland were already made in the 1870s. The former Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Iceland, George William Howlan, argued for the construction of an undersea rail tunnel under the Northumberland Strait. He saw the opportunity to stimulate the old industries and to establish new and put them on a par with those of the rest of the provinces in the fixed tie of the island. For this purpose he sent in March 1891 specifically a delegation to the then relevant British Parliament. The idea came after his death in 1901 in obscurity.

Only in the 1950s and 1960s, the idea of ​​a fixed connection of Prince Edward Iceland was taken up again. In 1957, the proposal arose to build a dike on the Northumberland Strait. A 300 -meter-long recess in the dam vessel traffic would have been overcome by a bridge. The plan was rejected for marine technical security considerations as too dangerous. In the years 1962 and 1965, the plan was taken up again. A cost estimate for a combination of tunnels, dike and bridge then saw before expenses in the amount of 148 million dollars. There were then built access roads and rail links. The project was, however, as of 1969 no longer pursued as too costly, as well as scientific experts had made ​​strong for the maintenance of the ferry.

The mid-1980s brought business people from Nova Scotia on their own initiative, the idea for the "Fixed Link " again this week. They gave feasibility studies in order and could consult the public. As a result, this sparked a debate on the island and introduced on 18 January 1988 at a referendum in which 59.4 percent of the islanders spoke out for a solid connection - although still it was unclear what form would have this. Opponents of a fixed connection warned of the ecological damage of a project of such huge proportions. There were also doubts about whether such a large project could actually be mastered financially. In the connection the opponents saw a tourist action for the benefit of the mainland, but feared the exploitation of the island by businessmen from outside the island as well as negative impacts on agriculture and the employment rate.

Evaluations for bridge construction

With the referendum of 1988, more concrete plans for a bridge construction project. Between 1988 and May 1992 three proposals of various contractors for bridges have been inspected. Because of the size of the project, the federal government undertook an environmental impact assessment for each proposal. The first was published in August 1990, where he initially unacceptable risks to the ecosystem and the agricultural microclimate fixed. The reason for this was mainly due to the delay in the movement of the winter sea ice forming in the Northumberland Strait. The examination of a revised proposal eventually led to the end of 1992 pre-contractual agreements with the Strait Crossing Development Inc..

Bridge 1993-1997

Construction of the bridge began on 7 October 1993 with the construction of temporary bridges on both banks as well as the construction of a large precast factory in shelves and a smaller on the mainland side. All bridge components for the haunched, unicellular prestressed concrete box-girder bridge were made ​​not only on land, but to 192.5 m long cantilever beams composed and almost 60 m long Einhängeträgern and stored until it is incorporated in these precast plants. Thus, the construction of the Confederation Bridge differs significantly from that of other bridges that are built using the balanced cantilever method.

About three miles west of the Cape Tormentin in Bayfield another plant was installed to make the coast -side components of the bridge. The big bridge elements such as bridge piers, the boom and the suspended beam were built in Amherst Head. The individual bridge components were manufactured from 1994 until the summer of 1996, their assembly lasted from autumn 1994 until the end of 1996.

The dredgers Betty L lifted from the pits for the piers and paved the seabed. From offshore ship Buzzard from Kontraktorbeton was pumped into the pit, filled the space between the bedrock and the bottom of the pillar base. At peak times, up to 42 boats at the site go. On 2 June 1995, the bridge ramp was built on the side of Prince Edward Iceland.

All prefabricated bridge elements were transported by Amherst Head to the floating crane HLV Svanen from the coast to the installation in the strait and positioned with the help of GPS devices with an accuracy of 2 centimeters. A total of 183 prefabricated massive bridge elements were transported to the site in the country. The main beams each weighing up to 7500 tons with a length of 192.5 meters. The carrying capacity of special ship was specially raised for the construction of the Confederation Bridge to 8700 tons; the ship arrived in the waters of Prince Edward Iceland on 13 July 1995.

On August 7, the first pillar of Svanen was used and on 11 October 1996, the entire bridge deck was completed. The bridge received on 27 September 1996 its official name from a list of approximately 2,200 proposals from the public. The final lining carrier was mounted on 19 November 1996 at 23:30 clock. In the heyday of the construction phase up to 2079 workers at the bridge and 415 employees worked on the project; a total of 5,000 people were involved. In the spring of 1997, the last work on the access roads and the toll station were completed.

Since the opening

The official opening took place on 31 May 1997. The first traffic rolled from 17 clock over the bridge. The festivities at which ships of the Canadian Coast Guard, the schooner Bluenose II and the Snowbirds aerobatic team participated were broadcast live on CBC. The official opening was on the same day ahead of a bridge race, in which over 20,000 people participated.

With the opening of the Confederation Bridge, the crossing shortened over the Strait of Northumberland formerly of 45 minutes by ferry to around ten minutes driving time. This influenced significantly different economic sectors of the island. For example, the number of tourists increased from 740,000 in 1996 to 1.2 million in 1997. In subsequent years, the number leveled off at around 900,000 visitors a year. However, went with the accessibility of the island back over the bridge, the number of nights, as day trips have become more comfortable on the island.

In addition, the road links the mainland allows a continuous freight transport, which affects the export of agricultural products. In particular, the production of potatoes has since risen sharply. To meet the demand, new industrial production methods in agriculture had to be introduced. From Prince Edward Iceland also finished products such as french fries and potato chips are exported. The export of seafood increased since then.

With the opening of the bridge began a change in retail. Previously, large shopping centers were exclusively reserved in the Maritimes the larger cities. Since 1997 can be found on the island of branches of the chains Wal- Mart, Future Shop, Staples and The Home Depot. Thus disappeared a number of smaller shops.

Since 2007, the license plate of Prince Edward Iceland bears the Confederation Bridge as a motive.

Construction and operating agreement

In October 1993, consisting of several individual contracts BOT contract (Build, Operate, Transfer ) was completed in which the Strait Crossing Development Inc. ( SCDI ) undertook to plan the bridge to build and fund it after the completion of for 35 years to run and then to pass in a contractual condition of the Canadian government. At the SCDI Canadian, French and Dutch companies were involved. The SCDI commissioned, which consists of the same partners Strait Crossing Joint Venture ( SCJV ) with the execution of the works and the Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd.. ( SCBL ) with the subsequent operation of the bridge. To finance the project, the state Strait Crossing Finance Inc. was founded, the bonds placed on the capital market.

About the cost of the project there is no reliable information. SCBL calls in the site of the bridge total cost of the bridge of $ 1 billion ( Canadian dollars), without apportion the amount. It is assumed that it contained in addition to the construction costs and the costs of long-term project development, planning, design review, the site preparation, construction supervision, insurance and securities, etc. as well as the studies done in the construction environmental protection plan ( Environmental Management Plan). However, it can be assumed that the construction costs were calculated in agreement with 730 million CAD, since the SCDI the government in addition to the usual performance bond as security for the completion of the bridge a further safeguard against potential cost overruns amounting to 10 % of the estimated had to make construction costs and 73 million CAD. This, however, only in the contract stated, calculated costs are meant to make a statement about the accumulated prior to completion actual costs can not be derived.

As consideration for the construction and operation of the bridge SCDI receives except the loan payments of Strait Crossing Finance Inc., the toll revenues, which are adjusted from time to time for inflation. It was also agreed to be paid annually to the Strait Crossing Finance Inc. subsidy between the SCDI and the Canadian federal government, which adjusted on the basis of the value of 41.9 -million in 1992, updated in line with the development of the cost of living index, and while from May 1997 the following 35 years is paid. The amount corresponded to the costs paid by the government for the ferry service. In the event that the bridge would not have been completed until May 1997, SCDI was obliged to continue the ferry service at its own expense.

The total cost of the project, including maintenance and return costs, including all interest, repayments and other financing costs can be determined only in 2032 after the 35 years of operation; until a definitive statement on the profit generated or loss of the project can be made.


Architecture and Construction

The 12 -meter-wide bridge is divided into three main parts: one rising ramp bridge on the banks and a main bridge between. The length of the ramp on the southwest side of New Brunswick is 1.32 km and leads with a total of 14 bridge piers on the small island of Iceland Jourimain time. The east driveway of Prince Edward Iceland is 0.57 miles long and consists of seven pillars. The span lengths of the bridge ramps amount to an average of 93 meters. The pillars of the ramps ranging from 3.0 to 5.1 meters below the water surface. The 10.99 km long main bridge is supported by 44 pillars, which are in a center distance of 250 meters. The piers consist of four main components: a foundation for anchoring to the seabed, a subsequent foundation pillars on which a further pillar with strong conical base rests for the breaking of ice floes, and at its tip, a 100 -ton storage for projecting on either side main beam. To steel membranes are located at the ends of the main support as an abutment for the 60 meter long suspended beam, which connect the main support each other. The foundations have different shapes and sizes and are 30 to 39.8 meters ( Pier 26) below sea level. The foundation pillars have at their base a diameter of 22 meters and, like that build on pillars cast in one piece. The conical base of the pillar serves to push the floes of drift ice in winter up so they can be easily broken by the sharp edges of the pillar.

The Confederation Bridge is slightly uphill to the middle and then falls back slightly as it has in the middle passage openings for vessel traffic. Their clear height above sea level is a maximum of 60 meters. It has in a northeasterly direction to a slight curve to the left, which was scheduled to counteract the strong monotonicity and thus the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

The design of the bridge created by the French bridge engineer Jean Muller (1925-2005) and based in Edmonton firm Stantec. It had to meet some special requirements due to the geographical location. One of these requirements was to make the bridge so that the costs in winter ice flows as freely as possible continue to drive through the bridge. For this, a real data supplied from a computer simulation was carried out. In addition, observed and recorded the planners the ice from a helicopter. On one side of the bridge was designed so that it can withstand the pressure of the ice floes up to 3000 tons. On the other side of the pillar, which act like a rake should not prevent the ice floes too heavily on the passage. Would the bridge delay the melting of ice, which would have climatically and economically negative consequences. The Ice Climatology Division of Environment Canada in Ottawa calculated for the bridge was originally planned that the regression of the ice could delay on the Northumberland Strait by two weeks in extreme cases. Therefore, the SCJV decided to increase the distance of the pillars of 175 to 250 meters. Thus, the delay would take two days in the worst case and statistically occur only once in 100 years.

The bridge received for their design a series of national and American awards, including two awards of the 1998 American Concrete Institute, and the 1999 Bridge Award of the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania.

Materials and specifications

The extreme climatic environment on the Northumberland Strait put special demands on the concrete. The diffusion coefficient of the developed especially for this bridge project material is according to measurements less than 4.8 x 10-13 m2 / s, making it 10 to 30 times lower than conventional concrete mixtures. At the Confederation Bridge a total of 478,000 m³ of this particular concrete were used. The features of the special concrete a clearly higher protection against corrosion heard. Extensive tests on the concrete mix amongst others, were special resistance to freeze-thaw cycles, pronounced temperature conductivity in sulfate and chloride. The service life of the bridge due to the concrete used is 100 years, about twice as high valued as conventional bridges.

For the entire structure were a total 58,500 tons of reinforcing steel and 13,960 tons of prestressed cables of 12,690 km length were used. For the bridge piers total of 277 100 cubic meters of earth were excavated.

Safety Precautions

The 11 meter wide carriageway of the Confederation Bridge in each direction has a 3.75 meter wide lane and a 1.8 meter wide shoulder. Since strong winds can come up, the speed limit is for all vehicles 80 km / h Overtaking is prohibited in principle on the bridge. The road surface is made of a very durable bituminous coating, which greatly restrains the generation of spray by road during rainy days. Over 7000 procedures also ensure the drainage of the roadway. The bridge alignment is completed at both edges of 1.1 meter high concrete walls. They cover for occupants of passenger cars, although part of the view of the sea, but protected from air turbulence, resulting frequently from 40 to 60 meters above the sea. Once the winds reach speeds of 20, 40 or 60 km / h, the speed limit is reduced by 20 km / h In addition, decreases wind speeds of 70 km / h, given by the scoreboards headroom of vehicles of 5.50 m to 2.20 m. In yet stronger winds, the use of the bridge is completely prevented.

The bridge is supervised around the clock with the help of 22 video surveillance cameras. In addition, the Confederation Bridge has an uninterruptible power supply for the traffic control system consisting of lights, an alarm system and emergency call boxes, which are placed at intervals of 750 meters. There is also a weather station on the bridge, the wind speed and direction, air and road temperature, humidity and dew point measures. A digital traffic panel informs the driver about all security-related points.

In addition, there are special provisions for vehicles with excess width. Freight must register in advance dangerous cargo.


Tolls are charged back to the mainland only at crossing the bridge from Prince Edward Iceland. Therefore, it is only on the north side of the bridge a toll station. The in 2013 due to a car amount is 44.50 Canadian dollars (2009: 42.50 CAD ). Pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed to cross the bridge; but there is a shuttle service. Its cost is at 4.25 CAD for persons or 8.50 CAD for cyclists ( 2013). With regular buses and trucks can be collected automatically via a transponder, the toll.