standard Sydney Harbour Bridge – The world’s largest steel arch bridge

Sydney Harbor Bridge opened in 1932 and is a focal point of Aussie pride and celebrations.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge may not be the longest steel-arch Bridge in the world, but it is the largest and widest. At 48.8 metres (151.3 feet) wide, the Guinness Book of Records lists it as the widest long span Bridge in the world and until 1967, it was Sydney’s tallest structure.  The bride nickname is “The Coat Hanger” because of its arch-based design.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the fourth longest single-span steel arch bridge in the world, behind Bayonne Bridge in New York, The New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia and the longest which is The Lupu Bridge in Shanghai. The father of Sydney harbor Bridge is considered to be Dr JJC Bradfield . The detailed design and the crucial plans for the erection process were carried out by the contractor’s consulting engineer Ralph Freeman, who later received a knighthood.

Sydney Harbour Bridge - Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge - Sydney, Australia

Construction

The girders are made from steel . The pylons are made of concrete faced in granite, which was quarried near Moruya, 300km from Sydney. Around 6 million rivets and 52,800 tones of steelwork and 17,000 cubic meters of granite have gone into the construction of the Bridge.

The two  half-arches were built out from each side of the Harbour. Steel members were transported on barges into the Harbor and hauled into position with creeper cranes mounted on the arches, which built the Bridge out before them as they inched forward.

The two halves of the arch were joined on 19 August 1930, bringing a well needed smile to the face of depression-era Sydney. The road deck was then hung from the arch from the centre outwards and was in place within nine months.

Sydney Harbour Bridge - Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge - Sydney, Australia

Facts

Today an average of around 161,000 vehicles use the Bridge each day. When the Bridge opened in 1932 only 11,000 vehicles crossed daily. In June 1976, the one-billionth vehicle crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The first 500 million crossings took over 33 years while the second 500 million took less than 11 years. The Harbour Tunnel opened on 31 August 1992, to alleviate traffic pressure on the Bridge.

On 2 October 2009, BridgeClimb Sydney officially opened the first ever Sydney Harbour Bridge Visitor Centre. This Centre is open to everyone who would like to discover the stories of the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is the first Visitor Centre that is dedicated to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and offers full disabled access and free entry for all.

Every year for New Year’s Eve the bridge itself is used to compliment fireworks displays creating various effects like smiley faces and a disco ball

There are also reports of couple of pilots flying their airplanes under the Sydney Harbour Bridge , that’s how big this construction really is.

Sydney Harbour Bridge - Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge - Sydney, Australia

Climbing the Bridge

Bridge climb started in 1998 and attracts tourists and locals alike to climb the monument. After climbing through catwalks and up ladders and stairs, the view is absolutely breathtaking. There are day, twilight and night climbs and a group of twelve will leave for a climb every ten minutes. The safety precautions taken include a blood alcohol reading and a Climb Simulator, which shows Climbers the climbing conditions that might be experienced on the Bridge.

By all reports, Bridge Climb is fantastic and one of the ‘must do’ while on a trip to Sydney, with royals and celebrities such as Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, Matt Damon, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Ferguson, Cathy Freeman, Kylie Minogue and Kostya Tszyu all having done the Climb.

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