Scuba Diving Prince Edward Island – Under the Confederation Bridge

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The Confederation Bridge is a box girder bridge that carries the Trans-Canada Highway across the Northumberland Strait’s Abegweit Passage, connecting the provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick on the mainland. The 12.9-kilometer (8.0-mile) bridge, which opened on May 31, 1997, is Canada’s longest and the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water.

Construction cost C$1.3 billion and lasted from October 1993 to May 1997. Prior to its official naming, residents of Prince Edward Island referred to the bridge as the “Fixed Link.” On May 31, 1997, it was officially opened to traffic. The PEI legislature unanimously voted in April 2022 to rename the bridge “Epekwitk Crossing”, which is the traditional Mi’kmaq name for Prince Edward Island. To take effect, the name change would need to be approved by the Canadian federal government.

The bridge is a two-lane toll bridge that connects Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island (at Route 1) and Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick (at Route 16).

It is a multi-span balanced cantilever bridge with a concrete box girder structure. The majority of the curved bridge is 40 metres (131 feet) above water, with a navigation span for ship traffic of 60 metres (197 feet). The bridge is supported by 62 piers, the 44 main piers of which are 250 m (820 ft) apart. The bridge spans 11 metres (36 feet) in width.

The bridge’s speed limit is 80 km/h (50 mph), but it can vary depending on wind and weather conditions. It takes about 12 minutes to cross the bridge at the posted speed limit.

Confederation Bridge
Wladyslaw, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

Tolls are only charged when leaving Prince Edward Island (when travelling westbound). Since January 2022, the toll is $50.25 for a two-axle vehicle and $8.50 for each additional axle. Motorcycles are assessed a $20.00 fee. While pedestrians and cyclists are not permitted to cross the bridge, there is a shuttle service. The shuttle was free prior to 2006, but since January 1, 2022, it has charged $4.75 per pedestrian or $9.50 per cyclist when leaving Prince Edward Island. After the first bag, baggage is charged at $4.25 per bag.

Dive Report

The depth maximum was 61ft for a total of 34 minutes, and the temperature was 20°c (68f) on bottom. The dive took place underneath the ice shield of pier 7, and there was a rock reef present on the south side of it’s base. Fauna included schooling of cunners, winter flounder, Atlantic rock crab and American lobsters, as well as a diverse range of hydroids. Flora was quite diverse also, with several encrusting sponges such as boring, bowerbanks, palmate, chalice, warty and the wall of eyed finger sponge. There were also many species of anemones present including frilled, sea peach and Northern Cerianthid. Coral also made an appearance including dead man’s fingers and red soft”

Allan Parrish

Thanks to Allan Parrish for his video contribution

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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