Victoria Bridge, Brisbane
|Carries||Motor vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists|
|Locale||Brisbane, Queensland, Australia|
|Total length||313 m|
|No. of spans||3|
|Designer||Coordinator General's Department|
The Victoria Bridge is a vehicular and pedestrian bridge over the Brisbane River. The current bridge, opened in 1969, is the third permanent crossing erected at this location. It is shared by vehicular traffic, pedestrians and cyclists.
Half of the road space on the bridge is now given over to the South-East Busway. In the 2006 Brisbane City Centre Draft Masterplan, a new crossing immediately adjacent to the Victoria Bridge, tentatively named the Adelaide Street Bridge was recommended for a feasibility study.
Former bridges at this site
Construction of a bridge across the Brisbane River was first agreed to in 1861. The newly formed Legislative Assembly of Queensland forced the council to pay for the costs. £70,000 worth of borrowings was acquired from the Bank of Queensland. Work first began on the foundations for the first bridge across the Brisbane River on 22 August 1864. The bridge, known as the Brisbane Bridge, was a tolled, timber structure which opened in June 1865. It was a temporary structure which was to be replaced by a more elaborately designed, iron lattice-girder bridge. The Bank of Queensland failed in July 1866, bringing about a halt to funding for the project. The state government was reluctant to take on responsibility for the bridge's construction because it didn't want to incur debt. The timber bridge quickly succumbed to marine wood worm and began to progressively collapse. The council wasn't able to fully repair the structure and its remnants took two years to fall away into the river.
In 1871, an English company, Peto, Brassey and Co, agreed to complete the bridge. A new crossing, opened on 15 June 1874 by the Governor of Queensland, the George Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby, was an iron structure and a toll bridge. The bridge was paid for by significant council borrowings that were to be recouped by tolls. However a lack of revenue forced its transfer to the Colonial Government. The tolls were abolished at this time. It included a turning span to allow tall masted river traffic to pass upstream. The position of the swinging span was fixed when the tram-lines were laid along the bridge. It carried a 6 in (0.15 m) and a 9 in (0.23 m) diameter pipe which supplied mains water to South Brisbane. This bridge was partially washed away in the 1893 Brisbane flood.
Another replacement bridge was built and entered service in 1897, lasting until 1969, when it was demolished. In the meantime, ferries were used to transport people and goods. This second bridge was designed by Alfred Barton Brady. It was constructed of steel and wrought iron (superstructure), cast iron (structure) and stone (abutments and wing walls - purple hard stone/porphiry, brown freestone and portland cement) and had two carriage ways and two footpaths. As early as 1943 evidence of the bridge buckling from the weight of increased traffic was noticed. Tram numbers on the bridge had to be restricted and the footpath removed as a result.
A new bridge which was opened on 14 April 1969, was needed to meet growing traffic demands. It cost A$3.2 million and featured a modern design which has been described as sleek and elegant. For a short period both bridges were open, each operating in one direction only.
A portion of the southern abutment of the previous bridge remains adjacent to the new bridge, carrying a pedestrian arch, a short remnant of tram track and a memorial to Hector Vasyli, a young boy who was killed in a traffic accident at that point when waving to servicemen returning from the First World War. The abutment is heritage-listed.
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- "Portrait of a bridge. Ephemeral silhouettes of Brisbane's Victoria Bridge" by Daria Gomez Gane (c) 2008 - in preparation
- Cole, John R. (1984). Shaping a city. Albion, Queensland: William Brooks Queensland. p. 162. ISBN 0-85568-619-7.
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