Fig Tree Bridge

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South-west view of Fig Tree Bridge in Sydney, from the southern abutment of the old bridge.

Fig Tree Bridge is a girder bridge that spans the Lane Cove River, west of the CBD in Sydney, Australia. It is immediately to the north of Tarban Creek Bridge and the more well-known Gladesville Bridge. The bridge carries Burns Bay Road and a footpath and connects the suburb of Hunters Hill to Linley Point.

History and description[edit]

The bridge replaces an iron truss bridge originally built on this site in 1885 in a period which also saw the construction of the original Gladesville and Iron Cove bridges. The earlier Fig Tree Bridge was about 50 metres (160 ft) to the west. The southern abutment still exists, upon which there is a viewing platform accessible from the end of Joubert Street. The wheel that once operated the opening span stands in memorial.

The current Fig Tree Bridge, which opened in September 1963, was built in conjunction with the Tarban Creek and Gladesville Bridges as part of the planned North Western Expressway linking the city with the then Sydney-Newcastle Freeway. The expressway was cancelled, but the freeway grade road from the eastern end of the Gladesville Bridge, over Tarban Creek and ending at the northern end of Fig Tree Bridge hints at what was planned.[1] The bridge's concrete piers were designed so that when the expressway became a reality, two extra lanes either side of the bridge could be clipped on, increasing the bridge's capacity.[2]

Although never realising its true calling, Fig Tree Bridge, along with its neighbours, is still important as the next crossing upstream from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and as such is an alternative route in and out of the City from the lower and upper north shore suburbs via Burns Bay Road. Depending upon the time of day, it can also be a quicker route into the City, and is not tolled - unlike the Sydney Harbour Bridge route.

In 2006, Fig Tree Bridge formed part of the Medibank Private Seven Bridges Walk, a free community event meant to promote walking as a way of staying fit and active, and consisted of a walk circuit that crossed seven of Sydney's bridges, including the Sydney Harbour, Anzac and Gladesville Bridges.[3]

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