Anzac Bridge

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The Anzac Bridge is an eight-lane cable-stayed bridge that carries the Western Distributor across Johnstons Bay between Pyrmont and Glebe Island, on the western fringe of the central business district of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The bridge forms part of the road network leading from the central business district, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Cross City Tunnel to the Inner West and Northern Suburbs.

There were two bridges over Johnstons Bay before the construction of the Anzac Bridge.

The first bridge was constructed as part of a project to move the abattoirs out of central Sydney, and to construct public abattoirs at Glebe Island. The first pile of the original bridge was driven in October 1860. The bridge was opened in 1862 and was a timber beam bridge 318.6 meters long and 8.5 meters wide with a 12 meters swing section on the eastern side. It replaced a double steam punt crossing.

The second Glebe Island Bridge was an electrically operated swing bridge opened in 1903, the year after the opening of the new Pyrmont Bridge over Sydney’s Darling Harbour, which has a similar design. The bridge was designed by Percy Allan of the New South Wales Public Works Department who also designed the Pyrmont Bridge. Delays due to increasing traffic, which were exacerbated by having to close a major arterial road to allow the movement of shipping into Blackwattle Bay, led to the construction of the present-day Anzac Bridge. The 1903 bridge is still standing, but there is no access to pedestrians or vehicular traffic.

The stay cable design concept development and final design for the new bridge were carried out by a team from the NSW Roads & Traffic Authority, led by their Chief Bridge Engineer Ray Wedgwood and the construction by Baulderstone. The bridge was opened to traffic on 3 December 1995 as the Glebe Island Bridge.

The bridge was given its current name on Remembrance Day in 1998 to honour the memory of the soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who served in World War I. An Australian Flag flies atop the eastern pylon and a New Zealand Flag flies atop the western pylon. A bronze memorial statue of an Australian Anzac soldier holding a Lee–Enfield rifle in the “rest on arms reverse” drill position was placed on the western end of the bridge on Anzac Day in 2000. A statue of a New Zealand soldier was added to a plinth across the road from the Australian Digger, facing towards the east, and was unveiled by Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark in the presence of Premier of New South Wales Morris Iemma on Sunday 27 April 2008.

The bridge is 32.2 meters wide and the main span is 345 meters long. The reinforced concrete pylons are 69 meters high and support the deck by two planes of stay cables. Initially the stay cables were plagued by vibrations which have since been resolved by the addition of thin stabilizing cables between the stay cables.

There is a grade-separated shared pedestrian footpath and cycle-way located on the northern side of the bridge, making possible a leisurely 30-to-40-minute walk from Glebe Point Road, down Bridge Road, over the bridge and round Blackwattle Bay back to Glebe Point Road.

The bridge can carry a maximum of 180.000 cars per day. It reached its maximum capacity in 2002, only seven years after it was finished.

The bridge is regularly patrolled by security guards as a counter-terrorism measure. Security cameras also monitor the walkway.

The bridge has a speed limit of 60 kkm/h it was reduced from 70 km/h in January 2005. Also prior to that date, the bridge had seven traffic lanes.

Originally, there were bus stops at the western end of the bridge, but they were removed because buses pulling out from the stops created a hazard as they merged with other traffic moving at the speed limit. The Australian Anzac statue on the northern side of the bridge is adjacent to the former city-bound bus stop; the New Zealand Anzac statue was installed within the ramp area of the former stop on the southern side.