Iron Cove Bridge

Coordinates: 33°51′32″S 151°09′44″E / 33.858905°S 151.162254°E / -33.858905; 151.162254
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Iron Cove Bridge
The heritage-listed truss Iron Cove Bridge, pictured in 2006
Coordinates33°51′32″S 151°09′44″E / 33.858905°S 151.162254°E / -33.858905; 151.162254
CarriesVictoria Road
CrossesIron Cove
LocaleCity of Canada Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
BeginsDrummoyne (west)
EndsRozelle (east)
Other name(s)RTA Bridge No. 65
OwnerTransport for NSW
DesignPratt truss bridge
Trough constructionReinforced concrete
Total length461.26 metres (1,513 ft)
Width13.7 metres (45 ft)
Longest span52 metres (171 ft)
No. of spans11: 4 approach; 7 bridge
Clearance below12 metres (39 ft)
DesignerLaurie Challis
Contracted lead designerNSW Department of Main Roads
Fabrication byClyde Engineering Co. Ltd
Construction start1947
OpenedJuly 1955 (1955-07)
ReplacesIron Cove Bridge (1882–1955)
Official nameIron Cove Bridge; RTA Bridge No. 65
TypeState heritage (built)
Designated21 July 2003
Reference no.s.170
TypeRoad Bridge
CategoryTransport – Land

The Iron Cove Bridge is a heritage-listed road bridge that carries Victoria Road (A40) across Iron Cove, between the Sydney suburbs of Drummoyne and Rozelle. Iron Cove is an arm of Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson).

First bridge[edit]

Iron Cove Bridge
Coordinates33°51′32″S 151°09′44″E / 33.858905°S 151.162254°E / -33.858905; 151.162254
MaterialWrought iron
Total length347 metres (1,137 ft 3 in)
Width7 metres (24 ft)
Longest span38 metres (126 ft)
No. of spans9
Piers in water8
Construction startApril 1878
Opened22 November 1882
Replaced byIron Cove Bridge (1955–current)

The original Iron Cove Bridge was constructed of nine wrought iron lattice girder spans each 38.5 m long, and opened in 1882 after four years of construction. In conjunction with the opening of the first Gladesville Bridge the previous year, the opening of the bridge provided a ferry-free route for road traffic from Sydney via Drummoyne to the Ryde area and then in 1885, with the opening of the first Fig Tree Bridge across the Lane Cove River, to the North Shore.

All that remains at Iron Cove of the original bridge are the sandstone abutments situated on both sides of the cove approximately 20 metres (66 ft) south of the current bridge. The abutment on the Drummoyne side is listed on the local government heritage list.[3]

Reuse of Bridge Components[edit]

When the replacement bridge was opened in 1955, Gordon Duff, the Shire Engineer for Jemalong Shire Council (now part of Forbes Shire) negotiated with the Department of Main Roads to buy the lattice girders from the original bridge for £18,000 and had them transported to Forbes, and they were re-used by Jemalong Shire to build a number of bridges. Because of their good resistance to corrosion and the relatively low humidity in the area, all nine of the 1882 bridge's pairs of girders are still in use in three bridges on country roads in the Forbes district.[4] The longest of these is the Bundaburrah Creek bridge on New Grenfell Road 9 km southeast of Forbes, for which five of the nine pairs of girders were reused. This bridge opened in March 1961. The Mafeking Bridge over Back Creek on Wirrinya Rd 30 km south of the Newell Hwy used one pair of trusses. However this bridge was replaced by a new two-span bridge in mid 2023.

Current bridges[edit]

A decision to replace the original bridge was made in 1939 just prior to the outbreak of World War II. Design work began in 1942 but due to the Second World War construction by Hornibrook McKenzie Clarke Pty Ltd was unable to be commenced until 1947. The bridge was officially opened by the Hon. J.J. Cahill, MLA, Premier and Colonial Treasurer of NSW on 30 July 1955.

Designed by Laurie Challis from the NSW Department of Main Roads, the Iron Cove Bridge is an impressive steel truss bridge. It consists of four 18-metre (59 ft) plate girder approach spans and seven 52-metre (171 ft) steel Pratt truss spans for a total length of 461.26 metres (1,513 ft). Four lanes of traffic are located within the truss spans and the overall width of the roadway is 13.7 metres (45 ft) between kerbs. The roadway consists of a 127-millimetre (5 in) reinforced concrete deck slab with an inset for tram tracks in the centre portion.[5]

The bridge has aesthetically distinctive piers and abutments which reflect the Inter-War Art Deco style. Furthermore, it was the last steel truss bridge to be constructed in New South Wales in which rivets were used for field connections prior to the introduction of high strength bolts.[5]

The bridge was built to carry four lanes of traffic, however a fifth lane was later added to the southwest side of the bridge, cantilevered outside the trusses, forcing traffic to remain in the lane for the length of the bridge. Until the bridge duplication was completed in 2011, the default configuration was three westbound and two eastbound lanes, switching to two westbound and three eastbound lanes during the morning peak.

Bridge duplication[edit]

Iron Cove Bridge
Coordinates33°51′32″S 151°09′44″E / 33.858905°S 151.162254°E / -33.858905; 151.162254
CarriesVictoria Road
DesignBox girder
Construction startJuly 2009 (2009-07)
Opened28 January 2011 (2011-01-28)

In April 2009, the NSW Government approved plans to construct a second bridge over Iron Cove as part of the Inner West Busway along Victoria Road.[6]

During the proposal phase there were strong protests against the duplicate bridge being built from local residents as well as both local area councils of the City of Canada Bay (Drummoyne side) and Leichhardt (Rozelle side). Local residents within both Drummoyne and Rozelle formed the Victoria Road Community[7] and organised public demonstrations, the last of which on 29 March 2009 attracted over 3000 protest marchers.[8] Opposition to the new bridge was based on independent evaluations concluding that there would be only slight improvements to traffic congestion citybound on Victoria Road during peak hour while local congestion would worsen. Additionally, parkland on both sides of the new bridge would be reduced and independent environmental studies showed the local environment detrimentally impacted by the new bridge construction.[citation needed]

Work on the duplicate bridge commenced in July 2009 and the bridge was opened to traffic late on 28 January 2011.[9] The new bridge was constructed on the western side of the 1955 bridge and carries three westbound traffic lanes with one lane designated as a morning peak bus lane. There is also a 4.3-metre-wide (14 ft) grade-separated shared pedestrian footpath and cycleway on the western side of the new bridge which connects to both The Bay Run and Victoria Road. The 1955 bridge now carries three citybound traffic lanes and a 24-hour bus lane. The additional lane of the 1955 bridge outside the bridge supports was closed and is now only used for maintenance reasons.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bridge Ahoy! Iron Cove Bridge". Bridge Ahoy!. Information and Cultural Exchange. 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2015. Bridge Ahoy! A Curated tour of the Bridges of Sydney Harbour. Created for Sydney Architecture Festival 2014 by Information and Cultural Exchange. Supported By Roads and Maritime Services
  2. ^ "OPENING OF THE IRON COVE BRIDGE". The Sydney Morning Herald. No. 13, 938. New South Wales, Australia. 30 November 1882. p. 13. Retrieved 4 November 2016 – via Trove, National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Iron Cove Bridge Abutment". New South Wales Heritage Database. Office of Environment & Heritage. Retrieved 25 December 2006.
  4. ^ "Sydney Travellers' Guide: Sydney Harbour Vantage Points". 13 January 2015. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ a b "Iron Cove Bridge". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. Retrieved 14 April 2020. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  6. ^ "$100 Million Victoria Road Upgrade" (Press release). New South Wales Government. 20 November 2006.
  7. ^ "Victoria Road Community Committee Inc". Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Protesters carry bridge row to the street". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 30 March 2009.
  9. ^ O'rourke, Jim (30 January 2011). "Inner-west's bridge of sighs". The Sydney Morning Herald.


This Wikipedia article contains material from Iron Cove Bridge, entry number s.170 in the New South Wales State Heritage Register published by the State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) 2020 under CC-BY 4.0 licence, accessed on 14 April 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lawrence, J.; Warne, C. (1995). A Pictorial History of Balmain to Glebe. Kingsclear Books. ISBN 0-908272-40-5.
  • "Iron Cove Bridge". RTA Heritage and Conservation Register. Roads and Traffic Authority, New South Wales.
  • "About Us". Website. Baulderstone Hornibrook. Retrieved 1 October 2006.

External links[edit]

Media related to Iron Cove Bridge at Wikimedia Commons

33°51′32″S 151°09′44″E / 33.858905°S 151.162254°E / -33.858905; 151.162254