Eight facts as the Harbour Bridge turns 80

Sydney Harbour Bridge.

I rode over an 80-year-old on my bike today.

The Harbour Bridge celebrated its 80th Birthday today (although the actual opening was on the 19th). It was an engineering feat for its time and remains one of the few truly iconic bridges in the world. It is even the continuing holder of an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the widest long-span bridge in the World.

In honour of the Bridge’s 80th Birthday here are eight facts I like:

  1. 96 steam engines were driven on to the tracks on the Bridge to stress-test it before opening.
  2. The arch weighs almost 40,000 tons.
  3. 272,000 litres of paint were required to give the Bridge its initial three coats.
  4. There are around 6,000,000 rivets in the Bridge; they add around 3,200 tons to the weight.
  5. The pylons do nothing to support the Bridge, it is held up by four pins measuring 4.2 metres long and 368 millimetres in diameter.
  6. The contract to build the Bridge provided for the remarkably precise cost of exactly 4,217,721 pounds 11 shillings and 10 pence.
  7. The last tram crossed the Bridge in 1958.
  8. The arch can rise or fall 18 centimetres due to heating or cooling.

So all together now, Happy Birthday dear…

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