Facts and History of Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge connects Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore across the Sydney Harbor. It was designed by British firm Dorman
Long and Co Ltd of Middlesbrough. It is completed in 1932.
Since 1815, there were ideas to build the bridge in the Sydney Harbor. Because of different reasons (economic, politic and design) it took some 100 years
for ideas to bear fruit. J.J.C. Bradfield, "Chief Engineer of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Metropolitan Railway Construction" since 1912, liked the idea that
a future Sydney Harbour Bridge should be cantilever bridge and in 1916, NSW Legislative Assembly approved such a construction but Legislative Council
disagreed because it was of opinion that money should go into war effort.
After the World War I, bridge again looked like a good idea and Bradfield 1921
traveled abroad to investigate tenders. When he returned, he brought with himself another idea - arch design could work too. He and officers of the NSW
Department of Public Works based their general design on Hell Gate Bridge from New York City. On 24 March 1924 contract was awarded to English firm Dorman
Long and Co Ltd, of Middlesbrough because they already had similar experience with arch Tyne Bridge that they built. Arch bridge was chosen because it was
cheaper and stronger than other proposed solutions. Building of the bridge happened roughly at the same time as construction of the underground railway
system in Sydney so the bridge was conceived in a way that it can accommodate railway traffic too. Bridge was designed to have six lanes for road traffic,
two for railroad and one for pedestrian.
Bradfield managed the building of the bridge (because of the great influence he had on the development of the bridge, he is considered its “father”).
Ceremony of the beginning of the works, so-called "turning of the first sod", was held on 28 July 1923. First part of the work was constructing of the
approaches, preparing of the foundations for support of the arch and construction of the abutment towers. Arch construction began on 26 October 1928. Both
sides of the arch were built at the same time but southern was built a little ahead of the northern in case some errors appear and to improve the
alignment. Two halves of the arches met on 19 August 1930 and were able to support themselves. From that moment roadway and other parts were constructed
from the center to outside. Deck was completed in June 1931. Power, gas, water and telephone lines were laid at the same time. First test steam locomotive
crossed the bridge without problems on 19 January 1932. Bridge was opened on 19 March 1932. Its total length is 1.149 meters, width 49 meters and total
weight of steel in the bridge is 52.800 tones. Total cost of the bridge was AU£6.25 million which is a sum that was not paid off until 1988.
Beside for intended practical purposes, Sydney Harbour Bridge is used as a tourist attraction. Its south-east pylon is favorite place of tourists and some
of them partake in legal bridge climbing.