Eight traffic lanes, two rail lines, bicycle and pedestrian lanes covering almost ¾ of a mile!
Remember when I called the Sydney Opera House, “one of Sydney’s most recognizable landmarks?” Well, here’s another one. It’s one of the most recognizable bridges in the world, right up there with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate. It’s the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and it’s the tallest as well as the sixth longest spanning-arch bridge on the planet. It also goes by the moniker “Coathanger Bridge,” but only because our Commonwealth cousins are lousy at spelling (more on this shortcoming in a later blog) and tend to run the words ‘coat’ and ‘hanger’ together as one.
Dawes Park view of the Coat Hanger’
The four anchoring pylons alone — one pair at either end of the bridge — are 292 feet/89 meters tall. I use the term “anchoring” in an aesthetic sense, as they really serve no engineering purpose. They were added to the plans as an afterthought to give the bridge a more sturdy appearance. Apparently there were public concerns about the structural integrity of so long and ambitious a span, so the solution was to add a beefier visual feature at either end of the bridge. They do have their purposes now, however. Housed within them are a museum, a tourist center, and lookout platforms.
But why use a lookout platform when you can climb to the top of the span? Don’t believe me? Take a look:
Not for the faint of heart — Climbing the Coat Hanger
And, yes, those tour guides will lead you all the way to the very top, which is 440 feet/134 meters above Sydney Harbor:
Approaching the top
I’ll leave you with two final images of those cosmetic pylons and the view from Dawes Point Park:
Dawes Point Park
Massive Pylons — concrete faced with granite
Jutting out onto Bennelong Point
Today we begin our look at Sydney, Australia, with one of Sydney’s most recognizable landmarks — the Sydney Opera House. I’m sure you recognize this iconic structure, but you may not know the protracted and often bitter struggle behind the façade. The Sydney Opera House was under construction for over 14½ years and cost nearly 14.6 times the original budget. That’s almost 11 years beyond the projected completion date and, in today’s currencies, the cost works out to nearly A$900 million/$790 million U.S.
Sydney Opera House up close
For that money the people of Sydney got a Concert Hall, an Opera Theatre, a Drama Theatre, a Playhouse, a Sound Studio for contemporary music, a Recording Studio, the Utzon Room (a party and function venue for rent; named after the designer of the Opera House, Danish architect Jørn Utzon), and the enormous open-air venue known as the Sydney Opera House Forecourt.
Outdoor vendors at the Forecourt
Most of the cost and construction time overruns can be attributed to the complexity of the enormous shells that roof the structure. It wasn’t until two years into the construction project that Mr. Utzon finally figured out how to engineer them. In the end, Mr. Utzon scrapped his original elliptical roof design and went with what basically amounts to fourteen shells that, if pieced together, would form a sphere.
Shells made for segments of a sphere
So, let’s take a look at the rest of today’s gallery:
A popular spot
Taking in the sights
MV Collaroy — Ferry named for Collaroy Beach
Sydney Opera House up close
Sydney Harbour Bridge at night — The “Coat Hanger”
Today’s Fun Photo Friday begins a new travel series. This trip began with three nights in Sydney, Australia and ended a month later when our cruise ship MS Oosterdam docked in Seattle, Washington. But before we begin our trip in earnest, let’s introduce your guides:
R. Doug Wicker — Your Favorite Author . . . I hope
Ursula Wicker — Your Favorite REALTOR® and Travel Guide
And for the rest of today’s Fun Photo Friday I present a smattering on my favorite Sydney photographs. We’ll take a more in depth look at this vibrant and fun walking city beginning on Monday.
Sydney Opera House at night
Looking Over His Shoulder