One of the most important structural elements of the bridge is hidden: a construction technique called post-tensioning was used to tie the pier bases, shafts, and girder together into one solid, continuous structure that is designed to last 100 years.
Construction, the majority of which was carried out at on-shore staging facilities, began on October 7, 1993. Crews at the staging facility in New Brunswick created components for the approach bridges using pre-cast concrete in steel forms, while the main bridge components – including pier bases, shafts, main girders and drop-in girders – were produced on the opposite side of the Northumberland Strait, at the staging facility in Prince Edward Island.
Once the Approach Bridge precast components were completed in New Brunswick, they were transported by special trucks and barges to either end of the bridge site where they were assembled in place by a twin launching truss. In terms of the much larger main bridge components, the bridge crews in PEI used a special purpose-built transporter to move large components around the fabrication yard and then ultimately out to the jetty where the one-of-a-kind floating crane called the Svanen picked up the massive components and placed them into their final position in the Strait.
Construction crews reached an important milestone in August 1996, when the P22, or Navigation Span, was set in place by the crane, marking the halfway point of the bridge. On November 19, 1996, shortly before midnight, the last component of the Confederation Bridge was placed; construction of the approach roads and toll plaza, and final work on the structure continued until May of 1997.