Australia is a country that attracts tourists not only for its unique nature. Here, architectural sights that harmoniously blend into the landscapes of the Green Continent make an unforgettable impression. Sydney, Australia's largest city, has one of the longest arched structures in the world called the Harbor Bridge. The original appearance of the sights gave rise to the Australians ironically call it a "giant hanger." What else is Harbor Bridge remembered for and why is it so popular with people visiting Sydney?
The Sydney Bridge is an important traffic artery: it connects the Davis Point (north) area on the left bank of Port Jackson Bay with Wilson Point - the city’s central area.
Before the construction of the viaduct, it was almost impossible to quickly get to the central part of Sydney from the north.
The main ways to get to the center were ferry crossings or trips by rail.
In 2019, the Harbor Bridge continues to be the main connecting link between the center and the north of Sydney: 2 railways, 8 automobile lanes, bicycle and pedestrian paths pass through it, as well as cargo ships and ocean liners.
History of creation
The idea of connecting the two shores appeared at the beginning of the 19th century, but the country's economic situation did not allow investing in a large-scale project. The end of the First World War enabled the country to rise to a new economic level, and in 1924 work began on the construction of the structure. Initially, the design was carried out by Australian John Job Crewe Bradfield. Subsequently, his projects were transferred to the British Ralph Freeman.
Bridge in numbers and interesting facts
More than 8 years were spent on the construction of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It was built from 1924 to 1932. The authorities allocated more than $ 20 million for this long-term project. About 800 families were evicted from the territory of the future construction and none of them received compensation. Despite some difficulties with the implementation of the project, tasks were set to maintain the functioning of the Sydney port.
As a result, a variant of an arch construction with a high span was chosen, which provided free navigation in the strait.
- The total weight is 52 thousand tons. The weight of the steel arch is 39 thousand tons.
- The total length of the arch span is 503 meters, and it rises above the Gulf of Sydney by 139 meters. The clearance between the arch and the water surface is 51 meters, so large passenger and cargo ships can pass here without hindrance.
- On hot days, the metal structure tends to expand. Because of this, the height of the arched span may increase by 20 cm.
- More than 200 thousand cars pass through the tunnel daily. The transfer fee is $ 2 one way.
The Sydney Bridge will retain the title of one of the longest arched structures in the world for a long time, second only to the Fayetteville American Bridge. Currently, when constructing structures, hanging or cable-stayed schemes are used, since they are lighter and more economical to use in comparison with rigid arched ones. For example, in the case of rivers with a strong current or complex mountain faults, lightweight suspension structures are constructed.
The design of Sydney landmarks harmoniously combines beauty and functionality. Supporting 4-meter granite towers and many massive metal elements, they do not aggravate its appearance.
In the central part, traffic for cars and trains was created, and along the edges there were tracks for cyclists and pedestrians.
The advertising slogan when visiting tourists at Harbor Bridge in Sydney says that "This climb will be remembered for a lifetime."
Since 1998, for people visiting the Sydney landmark, guided tours to the top viewing platform have been conducted. You can climb it along the right side arch with a view of the opera house, which is equipped with special stairs and cables. Instructors organize special safety training, then give out uniforms, shoes with rubberized soles, an audio guide and safety cables. In general, briefing, ascent and descent from the arch take about three hours.
Best time to visit
From the observation deck Harbor Bridge offers a picturesque view: the central quarter, the northern part, Sydney Bay and the Opera House. At any time of day, the Sydney landmark evokes the indescribable feelings of the magnificent structure, which you can experience the special power of by rising to the very top.
The attraction leaves especially vivid impressions in the evening, when the sun sets, and the lights of the night city are lit, and the structure itself is highlighted.
You can view from a height in two ways:
- Climb to the observation deck, the height of which is 87 meters. Opening hours: from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Climb to the top of the arch with guides and see the city from a height of 134 meters. Opening hours: around the clock. Ticket prices
In order to cover maintenance costs, the authorities proposed paying for one-way car for $ 2.
A 3-hour excursion to the summit of Harber Bridge in the daytime costs 235 Australian dollars, at midnight - 198, at dawn - 300.
Climbing to the observation deck will cost much cheaper - 13 Australian dollars. Students receive discounts. In addition, phones and cameras are allowed. While when climbing the bridge, equipment belonging to tourists is taken away because of the danger of dropping it. Instructors take pictures of tourists and Sydney from the height of Harbor Bridge. The service fee is $ 24 for the first photo and $ 15 for each subsequent photo.
How to get there
Harbor Bridge is the hallmark of Australia and Sydney. He is often depicted on postcards, along with the Opera House and Sydney Harbor. It is located in the heart of the Australian city, between the streets of Warringah and Distributor. Popular tourist routes pass here, so this structure will not be overlooked.
The arched span of Harbor Bridge has a length of 503 meters. This is slightly less than the 518-meter span of the Fayetteville longest steel arch bridge over the gorge along which the New River in the US state of West Virginia flows. Since at present, if it is necessary to build a bridge with a long span, a suspension or cable-stayed bridge scheme is chosen, since they are much easier and cheaper than a rigid arched bridge, then Harbor Bridge will for a long time be topping the list of the largest arched bridges in the world.
Steel arch Harbor Bridge weighs 39 thousand tons. It rises 139 meters above sea level and at the same time has a clearance of 49 meters above the water surface of the bay, which ensures the passage of any sea vessels under the bridge. Interestingly, the height of the arch can increase by about 18 cm on hot days due to the fact that the metal expands when heated.
The total length of the bridge is 1,149 meters. Its width is 49 meters, and the total weight of the bridge is as much as 52,800 tons! Steel structural elements of the bridge are connected by six million rivets.
From October 1, 1998, excursions for people over 10 years of age are carried out on the bridge - climbing along the side arch of the bridge to its top, from where a breathtaking panorama of the city opens. For climbing, tourists will need rubber-soled shoes and a special suit with insurance, which is issued on the spot. An accompanying instructor will help you with all the difficulties.
Those planning to visit Sydney at the end of December should remember that Harbor Bridge is an important part of the New Year celebrations and is used for spectacular pyrotechnic shows. The first, the so-called “family” fireworks, held at 9 pm, attracts a large number of families with small children. The second, the main fireworks, begins at midnight. The idea of fireworks came after the celebrations of the centenary of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1983. In 1986, pyrotechnician Sid Howard first realized this idea during the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Australian Navy. Since 1999, vibrant pyrotechnic shows have been held annually, and each subsequent year of the festival has a new theme. Fireworks attract a large number of residents and visitors to Sydney, as well as viewers around the world. So the New Year's show of 2010-2011 was watched by one and a half million viewers and 1.1 billion viewers!
Before the construction of the Harbor Bridge in Sydney, the northern part of the city on the left bank of the Paramat River at its mouth was almost isolated from the city center. Communication was carried out along a long railway line, or on a highway with five bridges.
The plan for the construction of a bridge between the Davis Point and Wilson Point districts dates back to the mid-19th century. Over the next 50 years, 24 bridge designs and one tunnel project were proposed, but when carefully considered in 1904, they were all rejected.
Then the project was developed by the Australian John Job Crewe Bradfield - chief engineer of the Public Works Office. He was the author of preliminary recommendations, on the basis of which specifications were prepared for the International Competition of Arch Bridges with Granite Coastal Supports held in 1922. The victory was won by the project of the London engineer Sir Ralph Freeman from the Dorman Long company. The construction, which was supervised by Bradfield, began in 1926 and was completed six years later.
The construction of the bridge was a difficult task from a technical and organizational point of view. In order not to disturb the functioning of the port, it was decided to use the console technique, moving from the supports in the direction of the central part. The bridge was tested for strength in February 1932 using 96 steam locomotives.
So, in 1932, Harbor Bridge was opened, and by the time construction was completed it cost $ 20 million.
Today, motorists moving to southern Sydney are paying $ 2 toll, covering the cost of maintaining the bridge. The bridge pylon closest to Sydney Opera House is open to the public. A circular panorama of Sydney opens from the observation deck, this is an ideal place for photo and video filming.
New Year celebration
- On hot days, the height of the arch can increase by almost 20 cm.
- The ribbon at the opening of the bridge was supposed to be cut by New South Wales Labor Secretary Jack Lang. However, when he was preparing to do this, a rider in uniform jumped up to him, cut the ribbon and announced that he was opening a bridge on behalf of His Majesty and all the people of New South Wales. The intruder was immediately arrested, the ribbon tied again, and Lang performed an official opening ceremony. The intruder was Francis de Groot, a member of the New Guard, who was indignant that King George V was not invited to open the bridge. Although de Groote was not a member of the army, he put on his uniform and mixed with the real cavalry. De Groot was accused of inappropriate behavior, underwent a psychiatric examination and fined 5 pounds, but later a decision was appealed, and de Groote himself filed a lawsuit for unlawful arrest.
- During the day, the bridge crosses more than 200 thousand cars.
- In order to build a bridge, more than 500 houses had to be demolished.
- Any change in the design of the arch bridge requires recalculations for the entire structure. The calculations took 28 weighty volumes.
- Almost 300 thousand liters of paint took to paint the steel arch in three layers.
- Due to the large depth of the bay, about 60 meters, the bridge has no intermediate supports.
New Year's Eve edit |Photo and description
Along with the Sydney Opera House, Harbor Bridge - the largest Sydney bridge and one of the largest arch bridges in the world - is perhaps the main attraction of the city. Locals call the bridge "Hanger" for its characteristic shape.
Harbor Bridge, built back in 1932 through Port Jackson Bay, connects Sydney's business center with the North Shore. Prior to that, ferries crossed the bay, although the first bridge designs were proposed by various engineers in the mid-19th century. Today, 8 automobile routes, 2 railway lines, as well as pedestrian and bicycle paths are laid across the bridge. By the way, the fare on the bridge is paid - about $ 2.
The arch span of the bridge is 503 meters long, which is only 15 meters less than the span of the world's longest Fayetteville arch bridge, built over a gorge in West Virginia, USA. And the total length of the bridge is 1149 meters.
The steel arch of Harbor Bridge, weighing 39 thousand tons, rises 139 meters above the waters of the bay. Any sea vessels can freely pass under it. An interesting fact: on hot days, due to the expansion of heated metal, the height of the arch can increase by 18 cm!
Since 1998, regular excursions have been conducted on the bridge - along the side arch you can climb to the very top of Harbor Bridge, from where a stunning panorama of the city opens.