Bridges are steeped in culture and history. This month, SuperGreyBeard explores three bridges that are worth going out of your way to cross.
From towering railway spans to crumbling historic foot crossings, bridges manage to be both awe-inspiring monuments to human ingenuity and essential geographic connections
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney is known worldwide for this famous landmark, at 500 metres, it is one of the largest steel-arch bridges in the world. It is a cultural landscape that people actively experience: walking, driving, sailing, flying, cycling, ferry, and train commuting.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the primary transportation link between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. Prior to its construction, the only links between the city centre, and the north were via ferry or a 20-kilometre road.
The plans originally submitted for the bridge were a suspension design or cantilever bridge design. However, an arch bridge was selected as it was less expensive than a cantilever bridge design and could carry heavier loads. The bridge was eight years in construction, began in 1926 and finished in 1934.
Many people travel across the world just to visit the Sydney Habour Bridge.
Centennial Bridge, Panama
The Centennial Bridge, Panama is a bridge located on the Panama Canal. It was built to ease traffic between the North and South of the Panama Canal. The United States proposed the construction and funding of the bridge.
Previously the only way for cars to cross the canal was via a small swinging road bridge at the Gatun Locks, or a rail bridge and swinging road at Miraflores Locks. The swinging bridges had a very restricted capacity.
The bridge made it easier to cross the Panama Canal and reconnected Colon and Panama City.
Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia
The Lions Gate Bridge helped to bring Vancouver into the automobile age. It can be seen from Prospect Point in Stanley Park. The Lions Gate primary sewage treatment plant is located to the left of the bridge. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation owns the land to the right of the bridge.
At first, the city rejected the construction of the bridge, due to its impact on Stanley Park. The first plebiscite held in 1927 was overruled.
However, a man named Alfred James Towle Taylor overcame these objections as he convinced the Guinness brewing family to pay for its construction. The bridge was an attractive project in that it did not cost Vancouver City anything and the construction created jobs during the great depression. Thus the second plebiscite was successful. Construction began on March 31, 1937, and the bridge was opened to the public on Nov 14, 1938.
In 2005, the Lion’s Gate was named a National Historic Site of Canada.