“The Coathanger or The Iron lung or The Sydney harbour bridge”?

Oct 16, 2019

It connects Sydney central business district and the North Shore both on each side of the shore. At first in the 19th century the plan of making a bridge was proposed but then John Sulman’s suggestion that a tunnel was a better option and the lined up submissions considering Sulman’s idea were made, due to less seriousness and  unsuitability and so the momentum for the bridge crossing stopped.

Since 1815, there were ideas to build the bridge in the Sydney Harbor. Economic, politic and design (that were not approved) were the reasons behind its construction and it took a century for the final plan to get finalized by Bradfield, as he thought that an Arch bridge would be cheaper and stronger than other proposed solutions.  An international competition was held, with Bradfield suggesting that the design should be an arched bridge. So the government of south Wales invited contractors from around the world for the construction and the winners were the British firm Dorman Long and co. of Middleborough proposing a single arch bridge be built from both ends, using cable supports and joined in the middle.

How the arch developed:

The construction starts in the 1924 and it took full eight years to build it with the help of 1400 people at a cost of £4.2 million approx. Six million rivets and 53,000 tonnes of steel have been used in its construction. At the time of its construction the two eastern lanes were tram tracks but these were converted to road traffic when the Sydney tram system closed in the 1950s and so now it has eight road traffic lanes.

The construction began in the month of October 1928 after the basics were done. 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. Two halves of the arches met on 19 August 1930 and were able to support themselves. From that very moment everything else started from construction of road lanes to the laying of rail tracks,(it all started from the centre of the bridge ) and 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.