The Story of the Harbour Bridge Construction

The Story of the Harbour Bridge Construction you have probably seen pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – that massive steel arch bridge stretches across Sydney Harbour from the city to the North Shore. Clearly, it’s a big part of Sydney’s skyline, and when you see it with the Opera House in the background, you know you’re looking at a true Australian icon. People also call it “The Coathanger” because of its architectural shape, and it’s not just for looks – it carries all sorts of traffic, like trains, cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

Design of the Harbour Bridge Construction

John Bradfield from the New South Wales Department of Public Works was supervising the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction. A British firm Dorman Long, which is based in Middlesbrough, was responsible for the design and construction of the bridge. The bridge was finally opened in 1932. The Hell Gate Bridge inspired Bradfield in New York City; John Bradfield delegated the responsibility of designing the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the New South Wales Department of Public Works. After a competitive bidding process, Dorman Long secured the contract and developed a unique design based on their prior experience with the Tyne Bridge.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a remarkable feat of engineering and holds several records in the field of bridge construction. It is currently ranked as the eighth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world and is the tallest steel arch bridge to date, measuring an impressive 134 meters (440 feet) from top to water level. 

Harbour Bridge Construction 

To make way for the bridge, the government had to undertake a significant housing demolition effort in the northern and southern approaches to the bridge. This process was complicated; some residents lost their homes and businesses. Some properties were acquired without compensation.

Moreover, the government had already purchased numerous homes in the area between The Rocks and Darling Harbour during the bubonic plague outbreak of 1900. In total, 802 buildings were demolished to clear the way for the bridge. The two sides of the bridge In 1930, they met in the middle, and on 19 March 1932, the bridge was officially opened with an elaborate ceremony.

Interesting Factors About Harbour Bridge Construction 

  • Harbour Bridge takes approximately 160,000 cars each day.
  • It was built in eight years, and 272,000 litres of paint was for the first coat.
  • The bridge’s initial cost of 10 million pounds is equivalent to over 1.5 billion Australian dollars today.
  • Interestingly, the famous actor and painter Paul Hogan, also known as Crocodile Dundee, was one of the painters of the bridge.
  • Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is legal and is one of two bridges in Australia that allow it, the other being Brisbane’s Story Bridge.
  • The construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge surprisingly claimed the lives of 16 individuals.
  • The project employed approximately 14,000 workers at all times, many of whom particularly received favourable compensation.
  • The bridge contains approximately six million rivets, which evidently hold it together.
  • The distance from the water to the top of the bridge’s arch measures 134 meters.
  • The bridge’s total length, including its approaches, is 1149 meters, with an arch span of 503 meters and a width of 49 meters.

Scaffolds in Harbour Bridge Construction 

During the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, scaffolds played a crucial role in allowing workers to access the arch and complete the bridge. Providing a stable platform for workers to stand on and continue the construction process. The scaffolding was constantly adjusted to match the new height when the bridge gradually rose higher. The scaffolding also served as a safety feature, protecting workers from falls and providing a barrier against strong winds. The bridge’s construction was completed with a remarkable safety record, with only 16 fatalities recorded over the course of the project.

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Need Scaffold Hire

Australian Scaffolds is available day and night, seven days a week. Our expert team of scaffolders has decades of experience. We strive to make complex-simple. To find out more, call 1300 919 905. Or email Daniel at daniel.butlin@australianscaffolds.com.au

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