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Press Release

Halifax Harbour Bridges Wins 2018 Toll Excellence Award


CONTACT: Bill Cramer, Communications Director or 202-210-2962 (mobile)


International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association Recognizes Halifax Harbour Bridges with “Customer Service & Marketing Outreach” Award


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) announced Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB) has received the 2018 Toll Excellence Award for “Customer Service & Marketing Outreach” for their work developing a communications plan to educate and engage stakeholders in the Big Lift, HHB’s largest capital project since the MacKay Bridge opened in 1970. 


IBTTA, the worldwide association representing the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them, presents the Toll Excellence Awards annually, to highlight the very best projects, innovations and solutions from the international tolling industry.  IBTTA’s Toll Excellence Awards assists in the transmission of new ideas and emerging best practices throughout the industry to benefit the driving public around the globe. 


“Halifax Harbour Bridges continues to be a leader in our industry for their implementation of innovative practices promoting greater mobility for drivers,” said Patrick Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA.  “The 2018 Toll Excellence Awards are presented to an international list of tolling authorities responsible for developing the most creative strategies, harnessing the newest technologies and utilizing the best practices to meet the demands of the driving public.  We congratulate Halifax Harbour Bridges on this well-deserved recognition.”


Customer Service & Marketing Outreach Award: Halifax Harbour Bridges

Big Lift Communications and Engagement Plan - Halifax Harbour Bridges is a provincial Crown corporation that manages and operates the Macdonald and MacKay Bridges in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The two tolled suspension bridges join Halifax and Dartmouth, with combined annual crossings of approximately 33 million. The Macdonald Bridge accounts for approximately 40 percent of the region’s daily commuter traffic, and its sidewalk and bike lane provide the only active transportation route across the Halifax Harbour. 

The Big Lift was HHB’s largest capital project since the MacKay Bridge opened in 1970, extending the life of the Macdonald Bridge by at least 75 years and reducing maintenance costs. Construction began in March 2015 and concludes in 2018.

The Macdonald Bridge was operating safely after 63 years in service, but the deck was wearing out. The Big Lift replaced the infrastructure on the suspended spans of the bridge including the road deck, floor beams, stiffening trusses and suspender ropes on the suspended spans of the Macdonald Bridge. The $205-million project budget was covered by a provincial government loan that will be repaid entirely with toll revenue. 

To manage a unique, tremendously complex, and disruptive project, HHB orchestrated the removal and replacement of 46 deck segments while keeping the bridge open to traffic most of the time. The work was completed with overnight and weekend bridge closures over a two-year period. It was only the second time in the world that suspended spans of a suspension bridge have been replaced while keeping the facility in operation.

The HHB communications team of two developed a comprehensive strategy to educate and engage all stakeholders. The communications motto of the project was to “show don’t tell” by sharing stories, videos and photos so people could understand the engineering wonder that this was and to communicate early and often the reality of the project: it would be disruptive but necessary to extend the life of the bridge. A final survey to see if the objectives were accomplished will be completed in the latter part of 2018.


David Machamer, Chair of IBTTA’s Toll Excellence Award Committee and Assistant Executive Director for Toll Operations with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority said, “Each year the committee sees a growing number of entries from both the public and private sectors. The process has become quite competitive with entries from across the globe. The industry is proud to share the good works, successful projects and solutions to advance the tolling and transportation industry.”


You can view the full list of 2018 winners, by visiting this link.  The awards will be presented during IBTTA's 86th Annual Meeting and Exhibition, October 14th – 16th in Baltimore, Maryland. One recipient will be honored with the prestigious President’s Award for Excellence during the awards ceremony.


For more information about the awards or to interview any of the award recipients, please contact Bill Cramer, Communications Director, IBTTA,; 202-210-2962.





The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve tolling. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in 20 countries on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st Century. For more information, visit or join us on Twitter @IBTTA or #TollRoads.


About Halifax Harbour Bridges

Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB) is a commission of the provincial government and all the revenue collected through the tolls remain at HHB to pay for the ongoing maintenance and operations of the Macdonald and MacKay bridges. HHB receives no funding from the government.