Gladesville Bridge

Sydney, New South Wales

A landmark engineering achievement, Sydney's Gladesville Bridge was the first concrete bridge in the world to span 1,000 feet between supports.

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- © Nick-D

1,901 ft long, 72 ft wide and 200 ft high, the bridge is a mammoth of its kind. It stretches from Gladesville to Drummoyne, across the Paramatta river, and features seven lanes of traffic and two pedestrian walkways, making it a vital connection between north and south Sydney. It is not the first bridge in the area to have served this purpose however. It was preceded by another of the same name.

The Original Gladesville Bridge

Today's bridge was completed in 1964, but the first Gladesville Bridge predated it by 80 years. In the late 1800s, Gladesville was a place of 'gentlemen's residences', former farmlands turned into a posh neighbourhood. Its wealthy residents wanted better access to central Sydney than the punts and ferries they were currently having to use. So, in 1881, a bridge was built.

This was a two lane steel bridge with space for trams and road traffic, but not for pedestrians. It had a swing section to allow large ships to pass. It stood on iron cylinders and had a sandstone pier at each end. The piers are all that remain today.

- © Powerhouse Museum

Today's Gladesville Bridge

By the 1950s an increase in traffic had made the bridge very congested. A replacement was needed.

To begin with another steel bridge was planned. It was soon suggested however that an innovative concrete arch design might be more appropriate. The latter option having been backed by world-leading architect Eugene Freyssinet, Sydney's Department of Main Roads decided in its favour. Construction ran between 1959-64 and cost about $6.3m.

When the new Gladesville Bridge first opened, it was hailed a success and set several new standards internationally. Amongst these, it was the first concrete bridge to span 1,000 ft, and one of the first bridges to use computer programming in its construction.

Originally it had six lanes but this was later expanded to seven, the pedestrian walkways being narrowed in the process. Apart from this, it has remained largely unchanged into the modern day.

It was heritage listed in 2013, and recognised as an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 2015.

- © Grahamuk

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What you need to know

Gladesville Bridge
Gladesville Bridge, Victoria Road, Huntleys Point, NSW, Australia
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