December 1992. Strait Crossing Development (SCD), a consortium of Janin Atlas, Ballast Nedam Canada, and Strait Crossing, was established to develop, finance, build, and operate the Confederation Bridge.

The proposal, put before the island population in a plebiscite the following January, was generally supported, but lobster fishermen and conservationists raised concerns that led to protracted delays. Their conservation measures won for the contractors the Canadian Construction Association’s 1994 Environmental Achievement Award. Working with the Canadian Wildlife Service, SCD provided nesting platforms for endangered osprey in Cape Jourimain National Wildlife Area. The consortium also initiated a Lobster Habitat Enhancement Program, using dredged material to establish new lobster grounds in three formerly nonproductive locations. Construction work commenced in mid-July 1995.

The shore-to-shore Confederation Bridge consists of three parts. The 1,980-foot (0.6-kilometer) east approach from Borden-Carleton and the 4,290-foot (1.3-kilometer) west approach from Jourimain Island, New Brunswick, join the 6.9-mile (11-kilometer) main bridge across the narrowest part of the Northumberland Strait. Its two-lane carriageway rises from 120 feet (40 meters) to 180 feet (60 meters) above the water at the central navigation span. The bridge takes about ten minutes to cross at the design speed of 50 mph (80 kph).

Engineers designed for a 100-year life, taking into account the combined severe effects of wind, waves, and ice. In part, this was achieved by using concrete up to 60 percent stronger than normal in construction. The concrete employed in the 60-foot-diameter (20-meter) ice shields, designed to break up the ice flow at the pier bases, was more than twice normal strength. Because climatic conditions limited on-site construction to six months of the year, the bridge was designed to be assembled in the summers from posttensioned concrete components precast during the winters. The parts of the approach bridges were cast at a staging facility in Bayfield, New Brunswick, transported by land or water to the site, and assembled by a twin launching truss with a traveling gantry crane. Another staging facility was set up in Borden-Carleton to precast the 175 main bridge components. Some weigh as much as 8,000 tons (8,128 tonnes); the main box girders are 570 feet (190 meters) long, yet designed to be joined with tolerances of less than 1 inch (2.54 centimeters).

In August 1995 a purpose-built floating crane, the Svanen, began placing the components of the east approach bridge, completing it in November; the west approach was built the following spring. The main bridge followed, and by August 1996 the navigation span was the last to be placed. On 19 November the structure was complete: sixty-five reinforced concrete piers, founded on bedrock, supported the 8-mile (12.9-kilometer) superstructure which curves gracefully across Northumberland Strait. During the next six months, the finishing work—the polymer-modified asphalt cement road surface, traffic signals, emergency call boxes, weather monitoring equipment, closed-circuit television cameras, and toll booths—was carried out, and the bridge was opened on 31 May 1997. The estimated direct construction cost was Can$730 million.

Further reading

Macdonald, Copthorne, 1997. Bridging the Strait: The Confederation Bridge Project. Toronto: Dundurn Press.

Thurston, Harry, Wayne Barrett, and Anne MacKay. 1998. Building the Bridge to P. E. I. Halifax, Canada: Nimbus.

Coöp Himmelb(l)au

The “maverick Viennese partnership” Coöp Himmelb(l)au (literally, the “Sky Blue Cooperative”) was established in May 1968 by Wolf D. Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky. Their architecture has been called expressionistic, spontaneous, irrational—all characteristic of the Deconstructivism that followed them. Why should they be included in an encyclopedia of architectural feats? Because they were the archetypal challengers, not altogether without success, of orthodox architectural thinking at the end of the twentieth century.

Until the late 1970s, when they took a “technological stance,” drawing “airy therapeutic machines,” their practice focused mainly on interior architecture. Twenty years later they unabashedly aimed to unsettle and create unrest, reacting mostly against