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 precast components were complete in July 1995, the forms were transported by water to the bridge site and assembled in place by a twin launching truss with a one-of-a-kind travelling gantry crane called the Svanen.
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.