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Confederation Bridge

The Confederation Bridge is a bridge spanning Northumberland Strait and linking Prince Edward Island and mainland New Brunswick, Canada. At 12.9 kilometres, it is the longest bridge over waters that freeze in the world.

The two-lane highway toll bridge runs between Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island and Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick. It is a multi-span concrete box girder structure. Most of the curved bridge is 40 metres above the water, but it contains a 60 metre high navigation span to permit ship traffic. The bridge rests on 62 piers, of which the main piers are 250 metres apart. The bridge is 11 metres wide.

When the province of Prince Edward Island joined Confederation on May 20, 1873, the Dominion of Canada was constitutionally bound to provide

"efficient steam service for the conveyance of mails and passengers to be established and maintained between the Island and the mainland of the Dominion, winter and summer, thus placing the Island in continuous communication with the Intercolonial Railway and the railway system of the Dominion..."

Service remained unsatisfactory, provoking complaints from the Island government, until a railcar ferry, the Prince Edward Island, was put into service in 1912. Automobile service was added in 1938.

There was little consideration of a fixed link, as the idea was termed, until Public Works Canada received three unsolicited offers in 1985-1986, including a tunnel, a bridge, and a combined tunnel/causeway/bridge. The announcement that a fixed link would be built was made on December 2, 1992. This announcement sparked a debate on the Island, and Premier Joe Ghiz promised a plebiscite on January 18, 1993. The result was 59.4% in favour of the fixed link.

Construction began on July 13, 1995, continued for 18 months, and cost one billion dollars. The bridge was completed on November 19, 1996, and opened on May 31, 1997.

Tolls are paid only when exiting Prince Edward Island; the current toll rate is $39.00 for an automobile, with other rates for other types of vehicles. A free shuttle service is available for pedestrians and cyclists.

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Confederation Bridge