52,800 tonnes of steel. 6,000,000 steel rivets. Approximately 1000 metres long. An iconic sight, and a landmark recognized around the globe. Welcome to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
According to the information maintained by the Australian Government, the suggestion for a bridge allowing commuters to bypass the busy Harbour area, was first made all the way back in 1815 by Francis Greenway. Of course, it took years before that dream could be realized.
The local governing bodies invited design submissions in 1900, but it would take years for one to be approved and the tender floated.
Sydney had to wait until after the end of the First World War, for more serious plans to come to fruition. A general design for the proposed bridge was prepared by Dr. J J C Bradfield, and officers of the NSW Department of Public Works. The state government then invited tenders from around the world, with the final contract being awarded to the English firm, Dorman Long and Co of Middlesbrough.
Construction on the “Sydney Harbour Bridge” began in 1924. It would take 1400 men, 8 years, 6 million hand driven rivets, and about 53,000 tons of steel to build the edifice that stands as a symbol for the city today. It cost the government 4.2 million dollars to construct. The bridge now has 8 traffic lanes, 2 of which used to be tram tracks before the trams were decommissioned in the 1950s. There are also 2 rail lines on the bridge, one in each direction.
Inaugurated on the 19th of March, 1932, by the NSW Premier, the Honourable John ‘Jack’ T. Lang, the bridge has since seen millions of vehicles, trains and foot traffic.
A huge tourist attraction – BridgeClimb, started in 1998, pulling in tourists and locals alike. It allows climbers to ascend the catwalks on the bridge all the way to the top. The universal opinion is that the spectacular view is worth the climb up ladders and stairs. The climbs are scheduled throughout the day, during twilight and at night as well. Understandably, safety precautions are detailed, including a blood alcohol reading and a climb simulator, which helps climbers anticipate the conditions they are about to experience.
By all accounts, the BridgeClimb is breath-taking, and is always listed as a must-do for visitors to Sydney. Royals like Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, and celebrities like Matt Damon, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Ferguson, Cathy Freeman, Kylie Minogue and Kostya Tszyu all having done the Climb.
Almost all the components for the construction of this bridge were custom made, and designed specifically for this structure. An example would be the hand driven rivets, which were done to be as accurate as possible. At Oasis Metals, we produce high quality steel gratings and structure support beams like the ones used in the construction of the Sydney Harbour bridge. We take into account your designs, your requirements, and provide you with high quality products that ensure longevity, and stability. Our bottom line is our high rate of client satisfaction, and in this endeavour, we will not waver.
Bonus Fun Fact:
The top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge arch actually rises and falls about 180 mm due to changes in the temperature!