Anzac Bridge | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Anzac Bridge

Item details

Name of item: Anzac Bridge
Other name/s: RTA Bridge No. 8535
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road Bridge
Location: Lat: -33.86888888888889 Long: 151.18555555555557
Primary address: Victoria Road, Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Parish: Petersham
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Victoria RoadPyrmontSydneyPetershamCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads and Maritime ServicesState Government 

Statement of significance:

Anzac Bridge has significance at a State level because of its technical qualities; it is a world standard bridge in scale, aesthetics and design features. Anzac Bridge is a reinforced concrete cable-stayed bridge built over Johnstons Bay between Glebe Island and the inner Sydney suburbs of Pyrmont and Darling Harbour. The bridge was designed and built between 1989 and 1995 by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and its predecessor, the Department of Main Roads (DMR), and is currently the longest such bridge in Australia. The subtle sweep of the bridge's cantilevered deck, which links into the arterial road network and is supported at either end by monumental reinforced concrete towers, forms a striking and integral part of the Sydney skyline. It has quickly become one of the iconic images of Sydney, particularly for those who have views of it, cross it to work by road or bike, or use its highly visible towers as an aid to urban navigation.

Anzac Bridge is also historically significant because it is a contemporary solution to a long-term problem for government agencies responsible for road building and maintenance in Sydney. It replaces the Glebe Island Bridge of 1903, adjacent to Anzac Bridge, which was historically part of the five bridges route connecting Sydney to the north shore. This route was important in connecting Sydney to Parramatta and the north shore from the middle of the nineteenth century, and for much of the twentieth century. The design and construction of a new bridge at the Johnstons Bay crossing (along with the associated freeway road systems) from the late 1980s through to the mid 1990s reflected the desire of the road authorities (the DMR, latterly the RTA) to cut travel times for commuters, and also to limit the build up of traffic on the Glebe Island Bridge. Anzac Bridge is part of the Glebe Island Arterial, and forms an essential part of Sydney's road infrastructure.
Date significance updated: 05 Oct 04
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Design leader: Ken Wheeler, RTA
Builder/Maker: Baulderstone Hornibrook
Construction years: 1989-1995
Physical description: The Anzac Bridge crosses Johnstons Bay, connecting Victoria Road on the western side of the bay with the Pyrmont and Darling Harbour to the east. When completed in 1995, the Anzac Bridge became the longest concrete cable-stayed bridge in Australia, with a central span of 345m. The overall length of the bridge is 805 metres, with individual spans of 77.95, 140,345, 140, 54.5 and 42 m. The shipping channel has a vertical clearance of 27m. From the eastern end of the bridge an elevated roadway constructed from voided slab prestressed concrete some 1.4 km long ties the bridge to the expressway complex over Darling Harbour.

The central spans of the Anzac Bridge are supported by two 120 metre high towers, each of which was founded on 56 reinforced concrete piles. The towers have access stairways for inspection and maintenance of the flags and aircraft clearance lights at the top. Each tower supports two fans of stay cables, 128 in all. These have individual anchorage points in the tower and terminate into the edge beam of the deck. Due to the geometry of the upper and lower supports points (including anchorage points on the eastern deck which splays) the cables form slightly warped planes. Each cable consists of between 25 and 74 individually sheathed and galvanised 15.7 mm diameter high tensile steel strands enclosed in a polyethylene tube. The deck consists of precast units with prestressed cross girders at 5.167 m spacing. The central part of the main span is longitudinally prestressed to neutralise some of the horizontal forces from the stay cables. The deck at either end of the cable stayed section transitions to a box girder design which has a tapered deck to suit the loading conditions.

The cable-stayed deck is 32.2 metres wide. It supports 6 traffic lanes as well as a 3.5 m wide shared pedestrian/cycleway. At each end there are ramps and / or stairs to facilitate access. At the eastern end, the ramp is an elegant steel box supported ramp which convolutes to the ground between high rise apartments. As part of the western access, there are stairs and ramps set in an area planted with palms, at the top of which is a statue in remembrance of the Anzacs, after whom the bridge is named.

The bridges replaced Glebe Island Bridge, an opening bridge. This bridge is extant to the north of the new bridge although disused and in poor repair.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Original condition assessment: 'Having been in service less than ten years, the bridge condition is excellent as may be expected.' (Last updated: 27/08/2004.)

2007-08 condition update: 'Good.' (Last updated: 17/4/09.)
Date condition updated:17 Apr 09
Modifications and dates: The bridge was renamed Anzac Bridge in 1998, with the addition of a coat of arms at midspan, and statue and memorial at the western abutment.
Further information: The bridge is accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, with ramps provided at either end which link to a 3.5 metre corridor on the northern side of the deck.
Current use: Road bridge
Former use: Road bridge

History

Historical notes: The Anzac Bridge crosses Johnstons Bay, connecting Victoria Road and Glebe Island on the western side of the bay with the Pyrmont and Darling Harbour to the east.

Abattoirs were established at Glebe Island in 1860, following agitation by the City of Sydney Council to remove noxious industries from the centre of the city. Glebe Island and its abattoirs were first connected to the tip of Pyrmont with a wooden manual swing span bridge constructed in c1861, known as Blackbutts Bridge (Glebe Island was reclaimed and joined to the mainland in the late nineteenth century). Although originally a means of reaching the abattoirs, this bridge became an important part of the five bridges route from the centre of Sydney to the northern suburbs, and ultimately to Newcastle.

The original intention of the five bridges route, which was named because it encompassed the Fig Tree, Gladesville, Iron Cove, Glebe Island and Pyrmont Bridges, was to improve communications between the north shore and the city. Ultimately this route serviced more than the residents of the north shore, for by linking it with Victoria Road, which at the time ended at Gladesville, it provided an alternate route to and from Parramatta to Sydney.

In 1903, Blackbutts Bridge was replaced with a four-lane steel swing span bridge crossing Johnstons Bay between Pyrmont and Glebe Island, referred to as the Glebe Island Bridge. The Glebe Island Abattoirs were closed by the 1910s, partly under pressure from the Sydney Harbour Trust, which had gained control of the Sydney Harbour foreshore between Circular Quay and Rozelle in 1901, including Glebe Island.

The Glebe Island Bridge designed by Percy Allen (who was also responsible for the design of Pyrmont Bridge) served the Johnstons Bay crossing adequately until the early 1980s. Proposals to replace Glebe Island Bridge and to construct a Glebe Island Arterial were mooted in 1985 by the Department of Main Roads (DMR), who prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in that year. The EIS was approved in August 1985, following public display and feedback from local community and potential bridge users.

The Glebe Island Arterial was built in three stages. The first two stages of the arterial road between Harris Street in Ultimo to the Fish Markets on the eastern side of Blackwattle Bay were completed by 1987. Work on the third and final stage of the Glebe Island Arterial, including the new Glebe Island Bridge, commenced in 1989.

Initially the replacement Glebe Island Bridge was to be 'a concrete box girder bridge with three main spans over the waterway. Supporting the spans, two main piers would need to withstand the impact of 10,000 tonne ship travelling at 8 knots.' However, it was anticipated the foundation system required for these piers would necessitate the costly relocation of submarine telephone and electricity cables. Consequently, the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) revised its plans for the bridge, instead opting for a bridge with piers out of the water. The Bridge Branch of the RTA undertook the design for the new Glebe Island Bridge between July 1988 and March 1990; the RTA had been formed in January 1989, from the DMR and Department of Motor Transport (DMT). The bridge designer was Ken Wheeler (RTA, c1996, p 7).

The $69 million contract to build the new bridge was awarded to Baulderstone Hornibrook in March 1992, while other contracts were let for the construction of the approaches and associated roadways. Construction on the new Glebe Island Bridge commenced the following month. The total cost of the third stage of the Glebe Arterial came to $170 million, 'including investigation, design and construction' (RTA, c1996, p 7).

The two halves of the Anzac Bridge were joined on 24 July 1995. On 3 December 1995, the NSW Premier Bob Carr officially opened the new Glebe Island Bridge, ceremonially cutting the ribbon to open the bridge using the same scissors used by Jack Lang to officially open the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. Around 65,000 people took part in a community walk across the bridge to celebrate its opening (The Glebe, 6 December 1995, p 1).

The Anzac Bridge has three main cable-stayed spans. These spans are supported by 128 stay cables that fan out from the top of two 120 metre high towers at either side of the deck, each of which is founded on 56 reinforced concrete piles. The cable deck is 805 metres long and 32.2 metres wide, and accommodates six lanes of traffic as well as a pedestrian/bike lane along its northern side. On completion in 1995, the Anzac Bridge was the longest concrete cable-stayed bridge in Australia, at 345 metres in length (RTA, c1996, pp 4, 8, 27).

On the 11 November 1998 (Remembrance Day), the new Glebe Island Bridge was renamed Anzac Bridge by NSW Premier Bob Car and the State president of the Returned Services League (RSL), Rusty Priest. Lionel Charles Mance, a veteran of World War 1, was the guest of honour at the official ceremony (The Glebe, 18 October 1998, p 3).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Anzac Bridge has historical significance as it is a contemporary solution to the problem of conveying road traffic over Johnstons Bay, which was part of an important transport route from Sydney to the north shore and Parramatta since the mid nineteenth century, known as the five bridges route. Anzac Bridge was designed and constructed as a replacement bridge, superseding the c1903 swing span bridge across Johnstons Bay, known as Glebe Island Bridge (which remains in-situ). Its height was set to clear the commercial shipping then using Johnstons Bay, and will remain a testament to them when commercial shipping ceases to use this waterway.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The renaming of the bridge as Anzac Bridge in 1998 provided the structure with a link to the Anzac legend, a part of Australian heritage and folklore deeply rooted in the Australian psyche. As such, it has been given a key role in articulating this association, a role likely to evolve with time, and to possibly become more pivotal in times of national crisis.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Anzac Bridge is a world standard bridge in scale, aesthetics and design features. The experience of crossing the bridge is cathedral-like, with its vaulted canopy of stay cables. The subtle sweep of the bridge's cantilevered deck, which links into the arterial road network and is supported at either end by monumental reinforced concrete towers, forms a striking and integral part of the Sydney skyline. It has quickly become one of the iconic images of Sydney, particularly for those who have views of it, cross it to work by road or bike, or use its highly visible towers as an aid to urban navigation.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Anzac Bridge is the largest cable stayed bridge in NSW, and indeed Australia (other examples of cable stayed bridges in NSW are mainly footbridges).
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Anzac Bridge is a representative example of a reinforced concrete cable stayed bridge in the state. It is currently the longest such bridge in Australia. Other, earlier examples of cable-stayed bridges are the Westgate Bridge in Victoria, and the Batman Bridge in Tasmania.
Integrity/Intactness: Intact
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Study of Heritage Significance of a Group of RTA Controlled Bridges & Ferries2004 HAAH - Sue Rosen and Associates  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1998It's Now Officially the Anzac Bridge', The Glebe, 18 October 1998, p 3
Written  'Masses Come to Christen Bridge', The Glebe, 6 December 1995, p 1
Written   
WrittenHuxley, John1995'A is for Awe-struck on Opening Day', Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 1995, pp 1, 4
WrittenMoore, David and Murray Waldren and Robert Renew1996To Build a Bridge: Glebe Island, Sydney, Australia
WrittenRoads and Traffic Authority, (RTA)1996The Glebe Island Arterial, Sydney, Australia

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4305018


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