Sydney Harbour Bridge 80th Birthday....

Today is the 80th Birthday of an iconic bridge here in Australia. The Sydney Harbour Bridge reaches its octogenarian year, but seems to be going from strength to strength. You may have witnessed the fantastic New Year firework displays that bring the old girl to life ~ she's one party girl and certainly not feeling her age or prepared to sit back quietly. With approximately 160,000 vehicles cross the bridge every weekday, she's certainly earning her keep. 
Google's Australian homepage today pays tribute to the bridge with this design...cool eh?


After years of proposals to link the city of Sydney (at Dawes Point) to the North Shore (at Milsons Point) to eliminate the need for travel by ferry or make a substantial trip around the harbour foreshores towards Parramatta and back, amongst proposed designs including a tunnel and a floating bridge finally after many years were to pass, a vision became a reality... known locally as the 'coat hanger' design was approved. 

(Photo courtesy of http://www.sydneyharbourbridge.info/brdg-img/)
 
The tender of Dorman Long and Co. Ltd., of Middlesborough England for an arch bridge was accepted. The Dorman Long and Co's Consulting Engineer, Sir Ralph Freeman, carried out the detailed design of the bridge. The design was similar to New York's Hell Gate Bridge built 1916. The Hell Gate Bridge was a little shorter in span but was much lighter in construction as it only carried four railway tracks.

Work first began on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1924, with construction of the bridge approaches and the approach spans. (As many as 800 families living in its path were displaced without compensation). 

The Sydney Harbour Bridge design had to perform functionally and be pleasing to the eye as well. It was the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world at the time and locals worried that the two arches wouldn't meet in the middle. 

 (Photo courtesy from http://www.sydneyharbourbridge.info/brdg-img/
showing the two ends of the bridge meeting....go check out some more fabulous photo's....I adore these old photos ~ they're priceless)

Finally they did meet in 1930. It took 6 years and 14,000 workers to build the world's largest steel arch bridge.
The two eastern lanes were originally tram tracks. They were converted when Sydney abolished its trams in the 1950s. Today it carries eight traffic lanes and two railroad lines. One of the eastern lanes is now a dedicated bus lane. The bridge is often crowded, and in 1992 the Harbour Tunnel was opened to help carry the traffic load. The traffic levels were substantially reduced compared to the period before the tunnel opened.


Located in the south-eastern pylon (overlooking Circular Quay) is a lookout with 360 degree views and museum covering the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are about 200 steps to get to the top but the views are some of the best in Sydney. Don't worry it's on my list to climb and I'll certainly take you with me if/when I go...take a look at the view. Well Oprah climbed it on her trip here...so I'll have to.


I just want to let you know that the weather in Melbourne isn't like this video clip...currently its 24 degrees with beautiful sun ~ a perfect day!
Climb to new heights today everyone and keep smiling :D