Sydney Harbour Bridge to Cost £4,217,721.

From Engineering Heritage New South Wales


THE ARCH WHICH IS TO SPAN SYDNEY HARBOUR.
    The design shows the two-hinged arch to be a handsome structure. The abutment towers are in keeping with the graceful outline of the arch, which, graceful at the crown, has depth where it is wanted. The floor line is well marked from end to end of the structure, and the rib, beautiful in its strength and its simplicity, demonstrates clearly its purpose, taking the eye down to the abutments on either side without camouflage or interruption. Drawing by Charles Coulter.


This article appeared in The Sydney Mail on 5 March 1924.


Last week the New South Wales Cabinet decided to accept the tender of Dorman, Long, and Co., of Middlesbrough, England (with branches at Sydney and Melbourne) to construct the North Shore Bridge for the sum of £4,217,721 11s 10d — £111,809 less than the estimate of Mr. Bradfield, and substantially less than the amount authorised by Parliament, which, with approaches and resumptions, totals £6,325,000. The bridge is to be of the arch type, as recommended by Mr. Bradfield and endorsed by Mr. James Fraser, Chief Commissioner for Railways.


By Miss Kathleen Butler, Confidential Secretary to Mr. J. J. C. Bradfield. Engineer for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

TO-DAY it takes 84 minutes to reach the G.P.O. from Narrabeen by tram, boat, and the George-street tram; but via Mosman and the bridge by electric train it would take only half an hour. Manly to-day is about 40 minutes distant from the G.P.O by boat and the George-street tram; via the bridge, with a non-stop train, it would take 18 minutes. From Spit Junction by train, the Mosman ferry, and the George-street tram, the time occupied in travelling to the G.P.O. is 38 minutes: whilst via the bridge, the time from the Spit Junction to the G.P.O. should not exceed 16 minutes, with an electric railway service stopping at the intermediate stations also. From Bay Road station on the North Shore line to-day it takes 30 minutes to reach Central Station: when the bridge is opened for traffic it will take but 12 minutes.

Eastwood and the stations beyond, via the proposed Eastwood-St. Leonards railway, will be two miles nearer the General Post Office via the bridge than via the Central Station, whilst Hornsby and all stations beyond will be 7½ miles nearer the G.P.O. via the bridge than via Central Station.

As the railways are constructed to Cremorne, Mosman, Athol, Manly, Narrabeen, Pittwater. etc., the stations will provide for goods traffic as well as for passengers, and the distribution of coal, wood. meat, agricultural produce, fruit etc., will be expedited and considerably cheapened, whilst the city merchant will be able to forward the daily purchases by rail to suitable centres and distribute them from these centres to the purchaser, saving not only time but money to both purchaser and merchant.

When the break of gauge question is settled, the transcontinental express will start at (say) Rockhampton on its run of 3880 miles to Fremantle, and will pass through Sydney, via the Sydney Harbour Bridge, thus shortening the distance by several miles. The same carriages will run right through, steam and electric locomotives only being changed at various pre-arranged stopping places, Sydney becoming, as it were, a wayside station. The bridge is designed to carry this traffic.

IN concluding his report Mr. Bradfield makes complimentary references to the Hon. A. Griffith, the Hon. T.H. Cann, the Hon. R. T. Ball, Mr. J. Davis, and Mr. T. B. Cooper. He adds: — "The trust reposed in me has enabled me to lead public opinion straight to bring tenders to a successful conclusion with the least possible cost to the State, and with the confidence of the firms tendering. In this regard I wish to acknowledge the able and willing assistance I have received during the past twelve years from my secretary, Miss Butler; the credit for the clerical work in connection with the bridge and bridge tenders belongs solely to her. Tenderers from all parts of the world to whom she wrote direct have expressed to me their appreciation of the clear way in which the information they sought was set out. The tender recommended, for the two-hinged arch bridge with granite masonry facing, is my design as sanctioned by Parliament and as submitted for tenders. The bridge, with piers and abutments faced with precast concrete blocks instead of granite would be equally efficient as far as the traffic is concerned, and would cost £240,000 less. In making my recommendation I have kept in view the past and future as well as the present. One characteristic of modern thought is the increasing tendency to study the past, and in looking backward we find a nation's manner of life and civilisation written in those works of its rulers which have survived the ravages of Time.

"Due to our gallant soldiers, Australia has recently been acclaimed a nation. In the upbuilding of any nation the land slowly moulds the people; the people with patient toil alter the face of the landscape; clearing forests, draining swamps, tilling fields, constructing roads and railways, building factories and rearing cities, they humanise the landscape after their own image. Thus, in the years to come will result the perfected product, land and people, body and soul, bound together by in-numerable and subtle ties.

"Future generations will judge our generations by our works. For that reason and from considerations of the past, I have recommended granite, strong, imperishable, a natural product, rather than a cheaper artificial material for the facing of the piers, although the cost is £240,000 greater — humanising our landscape in simplicity, strength, and sincerity.

"Of no moment whatever in considering the acceptance of a tender, but which still is, perhaps, worth recording: At times of national rejoicing when the city is illuminated the arch bridge would be unique in that it could be illuminated to represent the badge of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces. the sun and crown, a fitting tribute to our soldiers, unparalleled in the annals of any nation."

MUCH has appeared in the press since tenders closed about preference to Australian tenders, but quite apart from the unfairness to tenderers from abroad if this aspect received undue consideration, it has almost invariably been forgotten that not the people of Australia, nor of New South Wales, are paving for the bridge, but the 91,361 taxpayers in the City of Sydney and the northern suburbs, who paid the tax last year and will shortly again receive their assessment notices from the shires and municipalities defraying the municipal portion of the cost. When the bridge is completed the residents of the northern suburbs will pay in railway fares for the railway portion of the bridge. The tender recommended is for all-Australian manufacture, and is lower than any of the other tenders received; so the bridge taxpayers will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are paying for an all-Australian bridge without any additional cost to themselves.

A SIDE VIEW OF THE BRIDGE
    The bridge is the most suitable and the best that engineering skill can at present devise. It will be the longest span arch bridge in the world. As much Australian steel as Australian manufacturers are prepared to produce to meet the requirements of the specification and to roll into plates and shapes, will be used in its fabrication. Plates only, valued at 8.7 per cent, of the amount of tender need be imported from Middlesbrough, England. These plates cannot be manufactured in Australia at the present time. All other steel and all workmanship will be Australian. The bridge will be fabricated wholly at Milson's Point, Sydney by Australian workmen; the piers and abutments will be constructed of Moruya granite, Nepean River sand, and New South Wale's cement and the bridge will be erected by Australian labour. Drawing by Charles Coulter.

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