The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an Australian heritage site and is considered an iconic image associated with the city. This massive steel archway spans across the stunning harbour, beginning in the central business district and ending at the North Shore. It is known by Australians as the “coat hanger“, which has much to do with the arch-based design and overall image of the bridge. This bridge also carries all types of traffic, including pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles, and rail.
Although there may not be a tram line over the Sydney Harbour Bridge there is an Electric Train line that runs over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There once was a Tram Line but it was discontinued to make way for vehicles in the 1950s.
To accommodate additional public transit, there has now been a metro tunnel built deep under the harbour. This metro train system will cross underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is considered to be an enormous milestone for Sydney’s public transportation system. This will give travellers and domestic residents alike an additional means to easily and accessibly travel throughout Sydney.
Brief History Of How The Bridge Was Constructed
The Sydney Harbour Bridge officially opened in 1932, with the general design being handled by the New South Wales department of public works. The initial design of the bridge was considered a rough copy of the Hell Gate bridge, which is in New York City.
However, this design was not what the director, John Bradfield, had requested. Because of this, the initial design was scrapped, and an original piece of work by a man named Dorman Long was utilized. Long had taken some structural design concepts from the Tyne Bridge, which although similar, does not share the immaculate flares at the ends of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – which make it so distinctive and recognisable.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is considered the eighth longest arch bridge in the world, as well as being the tallest steel arch bridge. Its massive stature can be measured at 440ft (134m) from the highest point to the water level below. Until the Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver, Canada was built, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was also considered the widest long-span bridge – with a width measuring 160ft (48.8m). Because of this, this bridge is still thought of as being one of the most amazing and large bridges in the world.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge was built with the capabilities and intention of carrying trains over the harbour below. There is currently a suburban electric train line that runs across the bridge, however, there used to be a tram line that went across the bridge as well. The bridge was originally constructed with the plan of having four rail tracks running across, with two of those being installed during the initial stages of the construction process.
The remaining space was then made into a temporary track for trams. However, trams were discontinued soon after and this tram line has since been replaced by road lanes, this occurring sometime in the 1950s. The nearest stations on each side of the bridge are the Wynyard, on the south side of Sydney, and the Milsons Point, on the north side of Sydney.
Do Cruise Ships Go Under The Sydney Harbour Bridge?
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is listed as having a clearance height of 160.7ft (49m), with this being measured from the bottom of the bridge’s deck to the water down below. It is not specified whether this height measurement accounts for average, high, or low tide.
However, this does mean that some smaller cruise ships are able to safely pass beneath the bridge (as long as they’re smaller than 49m in height). For the cruise ships that cannot pass under the bridge, they will dock not far away at Circular Quay, which is nearly right alongside the bridge itself.
Can You Drive Over The Sydney Harbour Bridge?
Vehicles are certainly able to drive across the Sydney Harbour Bridge as it was designed for such traffic. There are eight lanes that span across the bridge, which are accordingly numbered one through eight, from west to east. For those wondering, lanes one and two constantly flow north, lanes three through five are intended to be reversible, while lanes six through eight continuously flow south.
This makes it so an approximate 160,000 vehicles and over 3,000 busses travel across the bridge each and every day. This also makes it one of the most notoriously busy roadways in all of Sydney. With a constant and smooth flow of traffic, drivers can expect to make it over the bridge within a minute or two.
However, sometimes this roadway can be incredibly congested. It is also worth mentioning that this bridge is considered a toll roadway in Sydney, so drivers should expect to have to pay to cross it.
How Much Does It Cost To Go Over The Sydney Harbour Bridge?
It’s important to be aware of the fact that the Sydney Harbour Bridge is operated with a toll system. The toll on the bridge is considered bi-directional, but with a variable tolling system for all southbound lanes (towards the central business district).
The bridge does have a single class for tolling, which means that regardless of the size or make of a vehicle, drivers will be liable to pay the same amount. The tolls a driver will pay are dependent on the time of day that they are driving, as the toll rates are entirely different from the peak travel hours, to the non-peak hours. The cost will vary from $2.50 to $4.00.
The weekday toll rates are $4 from 6:30 am to 9:30 am and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, with the rates set at $3 from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, and $2.50 from 7:00 pm to 6:30 am. The weekends are slightly different, with the toll rates being $3 from 8 am to 8 pm, and $2.50 from 8 pm to 8 am.
It’s also worth noting that there are no physical toll booths set up along the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This means that drivers are not able to pay with cash, credit, etc. Instead, it is recommended to prepare for the many electronically run toll booths throughout Sydney in advance.
Drivers will have to consider the option of getting a Sydney Pass, which can work on the bridge and other Australian toll roads. There is also the option to open a tag or a tag-less account prior to any travel across the bridge. Lastly, travellers can also use BPAY as an option to easily pay for any and all tolls.
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