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.
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:
And, yes, those tour guides will lead you all the way to the very top, which is 440 feet/134 meters above Sydney Harbor:
I’ll leave you with two final images of those cosmetic pylons and the view from Dawes Point Park: