The Confederation Bridge is 12.9 kilometres long and it connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. It is the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water. Prior to the construction of the Confederation Bridge, all crossings were made by ferry (the ferries do still operate). Construction of this fixed-link was done between 1994 and 1997. The curved bridge is a two-lane highway, resting on 62 piers. Most of the bridge is 40 meters above water, but there is a section that rises to 60 meters to accommodate larger ships. Construction required over 5,000 workers, and the total cost of the bridge was 1 billion dollars.
The economy of Prince Edward Island was boosted by fixed link of the Confederation Bridge. Tourism increased, as it became easier to access the island – which also improved the feasibility of exporting food products from PEI. Potato acres increased dramatically as it became more efficient to transport the spuds off the island. Seafood – which is time sensitive for delivery – also increased in exports from PEI.
The view from the bridge is pretty impressive. Speed limit is 80 km per hour – and with the truck, I was able to see over the cement guard walls. You can see the ocean, but because the bridge curves – you can also see it in the distance as you drive across. It takes about 12 minutes to cross, depending on traffic conditions. Bikes and pedestrian traffic are not allowed on the bridge. Officials do monitor weather conditions, and close the bridge when there are high winds, visibility issues or extremely icy conditions. Tolls for the bridge are paid when exiting PEI – it was $44.50 for our truck to cross.