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Harbor Bridge in Sydney

The Opera House and Harbour Bridge are considered symbols of Sydney. It is the second largest arched bridge in the world, only 15 meters behind Fayetteville in West Virginia.

History of the Harbor Bridge

The bridge has a history of more than 80 years, it is unique in size, there are 8 car lanes, 2 railroad branches, a sidewalk and a bicycle path. A width of 49 m allows for this luxury. Technical characteristics of the structure are impressive, its weight is 52 thousand tons, the length of the span is close to 503 meters, and the clearance from the water to the main runway is 49 m. The height does not create any restrictions on the passability of vessels of any displacement. A single span rests on granite pylons, the metal lattice of the arch is equipped with hinged supports.

The need to build a bridge is long overdue, the northern districts of the city were virtually isolated from the center. Residents had to make a daily detour of 20 km, crossing five crossings along the way. The first discussions began at the end of the 19th century. They lasted more than half a century, and it was only then that the first ideas and practical developments began to appear. The situation was aggravated by the complexity of engineering solutions, since arched bridges are rigid, requiring a significant margin of safety and accurate calculation of each parameter for the stability of the entire structure.

Australia's famous Harbor Bridge

Twenty-four options were considered before construction of the Harbor Bridge began. Even the construction of a tunnel was discussed. Fortunately it was rejected as technically and financially unfeasible.

When analyzing the functionality of the building during the competition, the design of Londoner Ralph Freeman won. Bradfield, an Australian, created a list of practical guidelines. It was in 1922, 4 years later the first supports were installed. The construction, which required 20 million. from the country’s budget, lasted six years. The construction of the Harbor Bridge in Sydney was a kind of confirmation of the stability of the Australian economy against the backdrop of the American Great Depression.

Arch bridges were quickly abandoned in favor of cable-stayed or suspended bridges, which were more convenient and economical. That is why Harbor Bridge will be in the top three in the world for a long time to come.

The practical benefits of Harbor Bridge

It still connects the business and residential parts of the city, significantly reducing travel time from one area to another and passing over Port Jackson Bay. Over time, the bridge appeared illuminated, and in the evenings the tourists and residents of the city a fairy-tale spectacle of 134 meters floating above the dark water arch with lights of different colors.

Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia

To make the construction pay off, a transportation tax of 2 to 4 Australian dollars is charged for each passerby. With this token payment, the costs were already recovered by 1988. Now the maintenance of the Harbor Bridge in Australia is done with this tax alone, which amounts to about 5 million. dollars a year.

For tourists there are interesting tours of the bridge, which include climbing to the top on the steps of the side arch, view the panorama of the city from a convenient platform Pylon Lookout, walk along the pedestrian section with observation of the ships plying the strait.

Harbor Bridge Today

Sydney - Harbour Bridge

Despite its venerable age, the Harbor Bridge is reliable and can comfortably withstand the daily load, passing more than 150,000 vehicles per day. When the bridge was laid, the safety margin was calculated with a multiple excess, and when the finished structure was tested, 82 steam locomotives were simultaneously placed on it.

The beauty of the views from the observation deck since 1999 has been complemented by grand New Year’s Eve light and pyrotechnic shows. In less than 10 years they have made the bridge famous, with fireworks twice on New Year’s Eve, at 9 p.m. for children and then at midnight for adults. Its splendor is watched by millions of television viewers every year, as the show is among the most popular in the world.

Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia

Time has no power over architectural masterpieces, they remain as a monument to engineering genius, the courage of the designers’ ideas, the skill of the specialists who assembled this amazing structure. The Harbour Bridge in Sydney is on the list of attractions of the Australian capital, striking the imagination with the perfect shape of the openwork arch.

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