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Gladesville Bridge (Sydney)

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An impressive concrete arch bridge crossing the Parramatta River at Gladesville, Sydney, NSW, Australia. It is 3.5 km upstream of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

When it was opened in 1964 it was the longest span concrete bridge in the world, the span of the arch being 1000 ft (305m). It held this title for nearly 20 years.

Guy Maunsell proposed a concrete arch bridge as an alternative to the intended steel cantilever bridge, and got his young graduate, 22-year old Anthony Francis Gee to prepare preliminary drawings (and, later, do more detailed design). Maunsell persuaded Reed and Mallik of Salisbury, UK, to team up with Stuart Bros Pty Ltd of Sydney to tender for the work. Their tender was successful, and the bridge was designed and constructed by the partnership, under the name of Stuart Bros & Partner. G. Maunsell and Partners were Consultants. Third party review was undertaken by several parties, including Europe Etudes (the design arm of the Freyssinet organization, headed by Eugène Freyssinet, who was a pioneer of pre-stressed concrete). Freyssinet also supplied bridge joints and flat jacks.

It was one of the first bridges for which a suite of computer programs was used for analysis and detailed design. The programs were run on a Ferranti Pegasus computer.

The span was originally intended to be 910 ft. This was increased to 1000 ft following appraisal of the ground conditions where the abutments were to be located.

Work started in December 1959 and the bridge opened on 4 October 1964.

The arches are assembled from precast box section segments (voussoirs) 20 ft (6.1m) wide and varying in depth from 23 ft (7.0m) to 14 ft (4.27m). These were supported on steel falsework during construction.

The road deck is supported from the arches by very slender concrete columns (the tallest are 133 ft high and just 2 ft thick).

The above information is drawn from documents compiled by Michael Clarke for the Sydney Engineering Heritage Committee[1]

See here for a 2019 article summarising the design and construction of the bridge.[2]

See here for links to several recent documents.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Nomination of Gladesville Bridge,NSW, as an Engineering Heritage International Marker', Addendum to GLADESVILLE BRIDGE - Notes in support of Engineers Australia Engineering Landmark nomination. Roads & Maritime Services, February 2014 by Michael Clarke for Sydney Engineering Heritage Committee, April 2014
  2. [2] 'Gladesville Bridge, Sydney, NSW. A brief account of the building of a pioneering concrete arch bridge' by John Muirhead, Engineering Heritage Australia Magazine, Volume 3 No.3, September 2019