Story Bridge

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Story Bridge
BNE-StoryBridge-fromCityCat.jpg
Official name Story Bridge
Carries Motor vehicles and pedestrians
Crosses Brisbane River
Locale Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Design Steel cantilever
Total length 777 metres (2,549 ft)
Width 24 metres (79 ft)
Height 74 metres (243 ft)
Longest span 282 metres (925 ft)
Clearance below 30.4 metres (99.7 ft) at mid-span
Opened 6 July 1940
Coordinates 27°27′50″S 153°02′09″E / 27.463752°S 153.035699°E / -27.463752; 153.035699Coordinates: 27°27′50″S 153°02′09″E / 27.463752°S 153.035699°E / -27.463752; 153.035699

The Story Bridge is a heritage-listed steel cantilever bridge spanning the Brisbane River that carries vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the northern and the southern suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia.

The bridge is part of Bradfield Highway (15) and connects Fortitude Valley to Kangaroo Point. It is named after prominent public servant, John Douglas Story.

History[edit]

Planning[edit]

A bridge downstream of the Victoria Bridge was part of a larger plan, devised by Professor Roger Hawken of the University of Queensland in the 1920s, for a series of bridges over the Brisbane River to alleviate congestion on Victoria Bridge and to divert traffic away from the Brisbane central business district. The William Jolly Bridge was the first of the Hawken Plan bridges to be constructed. Lack of funds precluded the construction of the downstream bridge at that time. Initially plans called for a transporter bridge further downstream near New Farm.

In 1926 Kangaroo Point was recommended by the Brisbane City Council's Cross River Commission.[1] Subsequently the bridge was constructed as a public works program during the Great Depression. The cost was to be no more than ₤1.6 million.[2]

Construction[edit]

The bridge under construction.
Governor of Queensland Sir Leslie Orme Wilson and consulting engineer John Bradfield inspecting the bridge, 7 July 1938

Before the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 the Government of Queensland asked John Bradfield to design a new bridge in Brisbane.

The Queensland Government appointed John Bradfield on 15 December 1933 as consulting engineer to the Bureau of Industry who were in charge of the construction of the bridge. In June 1934 Bradfield's recommendation of a steel cantilever bridge was approved. The design for the bridge was based heavily on that of the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, completed in 1930.[1] On 30 April 1935 a consortium of two Queensland companies, Evans Deakin and Hornibrook Constructions, won the tender with a bid of ₤1,150,000.[3][4]

Construction on the bridge began on 24 May 1935,[3] with the first sod being turned by the then Premier of Queensland, William Forgan Smith. Components for the bridge were fabricated in a purpose-built factory at Rocklea. Work sometimes continued 24 hours per day.[2] The bridge has only one pier on the northern bank but two piers on the lower southern bank, one to bear the weight (the main pier) and, further to the south, one to prevent the bridge from twisting (the anchor pier). There was no need for an anchor pier on the northern bank as the bridge was anchored into schist cliff face. The major challenge in constructing the bridge was the southern foundations that went 40 metres below ground level. It was not possible to excavate to that level as water from the level would rapidly seep in. So a pneumatic caisson technique had to be used. As men were working under pressures of up to 4 times normal air pressure, a decompression period of almost 2 hours was needed at the end of each shift to avoid the bends. An on-site air lock hospital successfully treated the 65 cases of the bends that occurred.[4] On 28 October 1939 the gap between the two sides was closed.[3] A concrete decking was then laid, covered by a Trinidad pitch topping. The bridge was painted and sodium lighting was installed. The bridge approaches were also prepared.[4]

Four men died during the construction of the bridge.[5]

Naming[edit]

Until it was completed the bridge was known as the Jubilee Bridge in honour of King George V.[1] It was opened on 6 July 1940 by Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, Governor of Queensland and named after John Douglas Story, a senior and influential public servant who had advocated strongly for the bridge's construction.[3]

Operations[edit]

Time-lapse of Brisbane and Story Bridge
Toll booth, 1941

The bridge carries an average of 97,000 vehicles each day.[6] The Story Bridge carries three lanes of traffic in either direction as well as a shared pedestrian and cycle way flanking each side. The road on the bridge is called the Bradfield Highway. It is not to be confused with the Bradfield Highway that spans the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Initially a toll of sixpence (5 cents) was charged to use the bridge,[2] with toll booths constructed at the southern end of the Bradfield Highway. The toll was removed in 1947.[7] Between 1952 and 1969 trolley-buses operated by the Brisbane City Council used the bridge.

Following completion of the bridge, an expressway was constructed on the southern side of the bridge (opened 18 May 1970),[8] and a tunnel/loop was constructed at Kemp Place on the northern side (completed 10 July 1972).[9]


Maintenance[edit]

The Story Bridge was closed to traffic from midnight of Friday 3 January 2014 until 5.30 a.m. Monday, 6 January 2014, for essential maintenance work of resurfacing all six lanes.[10][11]

The previous resurfacing works were undertaken in 1994.[12]

Riverfestival at Story Bridge

Role in contemporary Brisbane[edit]

The Story Bridge features prominently in the annual Riverfire display and is illuminated at night. In 1990 road traffic was halted so pedestrians could celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bridge's construction.[2]

Bridge climbs began in 2005 and have become a popular tourist attraction.

Suicides[edit]

Similar to many large bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Brisbane's Story Bridge has become notorious as a suicide hotspot.[13] Following two high-profile murder-suicides from the bridge in 2011 and 2012, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced plans to install free telephones linked to suicide prevention hotlines.[13]

On 6 February 2013, Lord Mayor Quirk announced plans for to install a three metre-high safety barrier. Overall the plan will cost about $8.4 million and the changes will be in place by mid-2014.[14]

Heritage listing[edit]

The bridge was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992.[15]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gregory, Helen (2007). Brisbane Then and Now. Wingfield, South Australia: Salamander Books. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-74173-011-1. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hacker, D. R. (1999). Petries Bight: a Slice of Brisbane History. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Queensland Women's Historical Association Inc. pp. 45—46. ISBN 0-9590271-8-1. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hogan, Janet (1982). Living History of Brisbane. Spring Hill, Queensland: Boolarong Publications. p. 109. ISBN 0-908175-41-8. 
  4. ^ a b c 'Story Bridge: Idea to Icon' by Michael Moy, published Alpha Orion Press, Brisbane, 2005
  5. ^ "The Bridge: Story Bridge". Story Bridge Adventures Pty Ltd. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Kim Stephens & Cameron Atfield (2 January 2014). "Heatwave could see Brisbane reach 40 degrees". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Brisbane 150 Stories. Brisbane City Council Publication. 2009. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-876091-60-6. 
  8. ^ [1] Leighton Holdings Newsletter, June 1970
  9. ^ [2] Leighton Holdings Newsletter, August 1972
  10. ^ Story Bridge to close for roadworks the first weekend of 2014 "The Courier-Mail" news article
  11. ^ Story Bridge resurfacing works - Brisbane City Council
  12. ^ Story Bridge resurfacing works - Brisbane City Council
  13. ^ a b "Brisbane Times news article". Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  14. ^ "Safety barriers for Story Bridge". Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "Story Bridge (entry 15015)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 

External links[edit]