Take The High Road


Considered one of the top engineering achievements of the 20th century, the Confederation Bridge has not only been recognized in the industry for its unique design and innovative construction techniques; bridge designers and builders have also been awarded prestigious environmental awards for their sensitivity and concerns for the surrounding environment.

The bridge itself was designed and constructed with the sensitive Maritime environment in mind. During the bridge development phase, Strait Crossing Development Inc. (SCDI) worked with marine scientists to identify non-productive fishery areas of the Northumberland Strait. By strategically dumping dredged material in those marine areas as part of a Lobster Habitat Enhancement Program, SCDI helped establish new lobster terrain while enhancing the existing environment for other crustaceans, rock crabs and marine plants.

SCDI’s environmental concerns were not limited to the sensitive Northumberland Strait lobster industry. In cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada, SCDI also constructed nesting platforms for endangered osprey in the Cape Jourimain National Wildlife Area. It is the area’s most extensive osprey management program to date.

For exceptional environmental management of the Confederation Bridge project, the Canadian Construction Association awarded SCDI the 1994 Environmental Achievement Award.

Over the lifetime of the bridge, its inherent efficiency and ongoing environmental benefit has become apparent. On the occasion of the structure’s tenth anniversary in 2007, Strait Crossing Bridge Limited (SCBL) commissioned researchers at Stantec (formerly Jacques Whitford) to evaluate the bridge’s positive effect on the environment over the previous decade. After an extensive evaluation using a wealth of historic data to analyze the air pollutant emissions associated with the bridge compared with the ferry system it replaced, the Stantec researchers came to a number of conclusions:

  • The equivalent of 16 million litres of fuel, and the release of 44 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are avoided every year as a result of the Confederation Bridge replacing the Borden-Cape Tormentine ferry service.
  • Vehicles using the Confederation Bridge consume one-tenth of the fuel and other energy that a similar crossing using a ferry would consume, leading to a significant decrease in the generation of greenhouse gases. The elimination of inefficient waiting-times and idling vehicles at the crossing has led to a corresponding reduction in pollutants being released into the atmosphere.

SCBL sees its continuing efforts in environmental efficiency as part of its long-term commitment to the Maritime community. In 2011, SCBL embarked on its most significant environmental management project since the bridge’s construction: the replacement of the structure’s 315 roadway lights, responsible for the consumption of 45% of the entire operation’s energy needs, with an energy-efficient LED lighting system. This transition from high pressure sodium to LED lighting is anticipated to reduce the overall energy consumption of the entire operation by up to 30%!