Spit bridge from the northwest
|Opened||19 November 1958|
The Spit Bridge is a bascule bridge that carries Spit Road over Middle Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, at a point called "The Spit", 10 km north-east of the CBD. It connects the suburbs of Mosman, on the south bank and Seaforth, on the north bank. It also carries A8 (formerly Metroad 10).
The bridge is of steel girder construction on concrete piers, a concrete deck, and concrete abutments. The opening span is operated from a small tower in the middle of the bridge. The bridge has two traffic lanes in each direction, with a tidal flow system set up, while the approaches to it have three lanes in each direction. This often causes traffic delays.
The bridge replaced a bridge built in 1924, which itself replaced a punt service which had operated since the late nineteenth century. Traffic wishing to cross the original bridge — also an opening bridge — experienced delays a few years after the opening of the bridge, a situation which parallels that of today, with local traffic competing with Northern Beaches through traffic. It was recognised that a new bridge was required and it was decided to build another low-level bridge at the same site. Other proposals had included a high-level bridge and a bridge further upstream, leaving the existing bridge for local traffic. Construction of the current bridge had commenced in 1952 and after delays was completed in 1958. It was opened on 19 November 1958.
The original plans for the Warringah Expressway were for it to be an above-ground freeway that would cross Middle Harbour between Castlecrag and Seaforth, joining the current Warringah Expressway, Wakehurst Parkway (which was to have been upgraded to a dual carriageway road) and the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation (which is the only part of the Warringah Expressway to have been built in the Northern Beaches). It was planned by the Liberal Askin (former member for Pittwater) government to have been completed by 1980. Their successors, the Labor Wran government, shelved these plans with their "No Freeways" policy.
Spit Bridge forms part of the route from the CBD and North Shore suburbs to Manly and the Northern Beaches. The next crossing is some distance upstream (north-west) at Roseville Bridge. The RTA announced in August 2006 that tenders had been called for widening of the bridge to six lanes, with two extra traffic lanes and a pedestrian/cycleway being added on the western side, and upgrades to the lifting mechanism. Construction was have begun in 2007,  however, the project was scrapped in May of that year. According to the government this was due to technical and engineering difficulties, according to the opposition it was because of political considerations. The increased cost estimates to $115m were deemed to be not justifiable by NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal and the 5-year plan was ditched. Traffic delays either side of the Spit bridge have been a problem for many years, not only on the approaches to the bridge itself, but also far up the hills on either side. Proposals to ameliorate delays have included widening the bridge, a tunnel linking the Warringah Expressway and the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation, and a high-level bridge in place of the existing one. The local state member has said the latter two are too expensive with $200 million estimated for a high-level bridge, and $1 Billion for the tunnel.
- "Spit Bridge, The", Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW Accessed 26 October 2006
- "Spit Bridge widening", Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW Accessed 26 October 2006
- Sydney Morning Herald: Working group to mull Spit Bridge ideas - 1 May 2007
- "NSW Legislative Assembly Hansard, 4 September 2002, article 37", NSW Parliament
- "Spit spat leaves yachties fearing harbour crush", Sydney Morning Herald
- Media related to Spit Bridge at Wikimedia Commons
- Spit Bridge opening times
- Spit Bridge, The - Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW
- Live traffic camera - Manly Road