A short celebration of its 50th anniversary, enjoy a little flavour of the history, construction, maintenance and recreation around the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
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Connecting Auckland's North Shore City with the rest of the isthmus' metropolitan area, the bridge was originally opened on the 30th of May, 1959.
The 1.2km structure (about the length of ten football pitches) is actually made up of three bridges. The section in the middle with the steep arches and flags on top, is the original four-lane 'truss' bridge that was built over four years by a team of 1000 men at a cost of over $6 million dollars.
The base of the six piers (76ft by 46ft), filled with 7,500 tons of concrete, support over 6,000 tons of steel.
Within a relatively short time it was apparent that the bridge would not be able to cope with the rapidly growing North Shore population (within a year 4.9 million vehicles had crossed the bridge and by 1965 traffic had risen to 9.3 million). The decision was made to extend the bridge from four to eight lanes to increase capacity and ease congestion.
This was done by adding two box girder bridges to each side of the bridge at a cost of $7.4 million. Designed and manufactured in Japan they instantly became known as the "Nippon clip-ons" and opened to traffic on the 23rd of September 1969.
Since then traffic volumes have continued to rise, to over 56 million vehicles last year.
The most important bridge in New Zealand, it is one of the best maintained anywhere in the world. From day one comprehensive maintenance has been carried out and over the years there have been a number of major upgrades including seismic, wind loading and fatigue crack upgrades.
In addition to its traffic purpose, recreational visitors can climb the bridge to walk over it to its summit and/or bungy jump from it.
Posted 9:44 AM, Monday, 6 July 2009, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.