Windsor Bridge (New South Wales)
(Hawkesbury River Bridge, Windsor)
The Windsor Bridge on the 1900s postcard from the State Library of NSW.
|Carries||Motor vehicles, Pedestrians, Bicycles|
|Locale||Windsor, New South Wales, Australia|
|Owner||Roads & Maritime Services|
|Heritage status||NSW State Heritage Register|
|No. of spans||11|
|Designer||Public Works Department|
|Constructed by||Turnbull and Dixon|
|Opened||24 August 1874|
|Daily traffic||19,000 (2013)|
The Windsor Bridge, officially called the Hawkesbury River Bridge, Windsor, a beam bridge across the Hawkesbury River, is located in Windsor in north–western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The bridge was built in 1874 for horse-drawn vehicles and foot traffic and now carries road traffic.
The Windsor Bridge has a high level of historic, technical, aesthetic and social significance as an important historical and physical landmark in one of the State's pre-eminent historic towns, and in the wider Sydney region. It is the oldest extant crossing of the Hawkesbury River. Together with the successive crossings upstream at Richmond, this bridge has played a major role in shaping the history of the Hawkesbury area, functioning for well over a century as an all important link between the communities on either side of the River and as an essential component in a through route of importance in the development of the Sydney region. The series of major alterations to the structure since its construction articulate the continuing difficulties of negotiating a crossing of this major waterway with its frequent floods. The Windsor Bridge has landmark qualities as one of only two bridge crossings of the Hawkesbury River in the Hawkesbury area and as such it defines the surrounding network of roads. It is a large structure, and although simple in appearance, impressive. The bridge represents a major engineering project in the State for its time. The addition of a reinforced concrete beam deck to replace the timber deck in the 1920s is a relatively early use of this technology. The River and this crossing of it has defined the life of several generations of local inhabitants on both sides of the River. As the suburban outskirts of Sydney widen and come closer to the still distinct and distinctive Macquarie towns, the rich history of the area and its physical remains become increasingly important to the community's sense of identity. The Windsor Bridge is thus an important part of Windsor's history and identity.
While there is no debate the bridge was an early river crossing and is one of the few in the area due to its low through traffic the bridge itself is of little tanagable engineering significance and has been significantly modified beyond its original design.
The area is noted to contain an early wharf that is now in a destroyed condition and early convict built clay brick drains that without the new bridge construction would never have been seen. These drains have been exposed and protected while construction takes place nearby and shall be covered back over to ensure their protection as construction progresses.
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In December 2013, the Government of New South Wales gave planning approval to the construction of a new bridge to replace the existing 1874 Windsor Bridge due to safety reasons, that have been disputed. The old bridge is to be demolished after the new bridge opens. Roads & Maritime Services proposed to construct the new bridge 35 metres (115 ft) downstream from the existing bridge. The approach road to the new bridge is proposed to be built along one side of the Thompson Square, Australia's oldest public square on a currently existing road. The new bridge proposal is objected by a segment of the local community on the grounds that it would keep heavy traffic in a historic town centre and it would destroy the town’s character and heritage despite the fact the bridge would greatly reduce traffic conjestion in the area. In October 2015, a legal challenge to stop the new bridge failed.
- "Hawkesbury River Bridge, Windsor". Heritage and conservation register, Roads & Maritime Services. Government of New South Wales. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- "Windsor Bridge replacement- Road Projects". Roads and Maritime Services. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- Saulwick, Jacob (3 January 2013). "Windsor Bridge plan a political folly, say engineers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- Foschia, Liz (4 December 2013). "NSW Premier's office accused of political interference in Windsor Bridge approval". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
- Roads and Maritime Services pursues Windsor Bridge community group in court Sydney Morning Herald 2 November 2015
- Kass, Terry (February 2006). "RTA Thematic History: A component of the RTA Heritage and Conservation Register" (PDF). NSW Roads & Maritime Services (PDF) (2nd ed.). Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Windsor Bridge replacement project website