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Confederation Bridge

Types of Engineering involved: Civil, Marine, Ocean, Geomatics

In 1873, when the people on Prince Edward Island voted to join Canadian Confederation they were promised a link to the mainland by the federal government. For 124 years a ferry towed people across the water. Soon more people lived on and visited the island and the ferry cost too much. There were other problems too. In the winter high winds blew and caused ice on the water, which delayed or cancelled the ferries. People would become stranded!

In 1997, the ferries were replaced with the Confederation Bridge. The bridge was one of the most difficult bridges to build in the history of engineering. It took four years for 2000 people to build this bridge. The final structure is HUGE. It is nearly 12.9 kilometers long – the same length as 117 football fields. It weighs almost 3.5 billion kilograms. The average person weighs 70 kg so the bridge equals 50,000,000 people!

The Confederation Bridge is made with 65 separate parts that were built on land and then moved into precise places by a satellite-guided crane. It is designed to last for 100 years withstanding the driving winds and crushing ice of the ocean and even accidental impact with passing ships. At the same time it was designed to have a very small impact on the ecosystems around the island.

Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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