Confederation Bridge better route for electrical cables, premier agrees
Federal government would not allow electrical cables on Confederation Bridge, says premier
Hanging electrical cables to supply P.E.I. on the Confederation Bridge would be a better option than going underwater, but the federal government won't agree to that option, says Premier Wade MacLauchlan.
The province and Ottawa came to an agreement in March to build two new electrical cables. The cables would both ensure a steady supply of electricity for the Island and provide a route for the export of wind energy.
The agreement is for the new cables to run under the Northumberland Strait, as the current cables do.
In the legislature Thursday, Borden-Kinkora Opposition MLA Jamie Fox asked Premier Wade MacLauchlan if submarine cables were the best option.
"If the cables were suspended along the side of the Confederation Bridge, this would allow year-round maintenance. Also, provide no environmental damage whatsoever to the seabed," said Fox.
"Would it not be advantageous to look at this option?"
MacLauchlan responded it would not only be better, but cheaper as well.
"It would be advantageous, and probably about $30 million less expensive! And we've looked at it as far as we possibly can but our understanding is that this is something the federal government is not willing to entertain."
The current estimated cost for the project is $100 million,
MacLauchlan said his government reviewed very carefully all the documentation from the late 1980s during bridge-building negotiations, to double-check if the federal government had made any legal commitments back then on accommodating the cables, but it had not.
The federal government will eventually own the bridge. Strait Crossing Inc relinquishes ownership when the structure turns 35 in 2032.
The federal and provincial governments are each contributing $50 million to the project. The province is currently in talks with Maritime Electric and the City of Summerside electrical utility about the new cables.
Installation is expected to begin in fall 2016.