Ice Loading on the Confederation Bridge

Helena Greene


Icebergs and ice loading present a number of risks on the design, construction and operation of ocean bridges in harsh environments. In order to design and construct bridges that are structurally stable and safe, it is essential to understand ice-structure interaction and the impact of ice loading. The recent field monitoring of the ice loading on the Confederation Bridge has the potential to improve the design and construction of ocean bridges in harsh environments.

There had long been a desire to connect Prince Edward Island to mainland Canada before the opening of the Confederation Bridge in 1997. A bridge connection served to both increase the flow of traffic and made it far easier to commute, particularly during the winter season. The observation and analysis of ice loads on the bridge serve as an important study for the hazards involved with harsh environment ocean bridges.

The following paper will present a brief project description of the Confederation Bridge and outline the ice-related challenges of bridge construction. The difficulties of the design and construction of the Confederation Bridge will be identified and the implications for other projects based on the research conducted will be highlighted.



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