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Story Bridge

  • 600240
  • Bradfield Highway, Fortitude Valley

General

Also known as
Kangaroo Point Bridge; Jubilee Bridge
Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
21 October 1992
Type
Transport—road: Bridge—road
Theme
5.5 Moving goods, people and information: Using motor vehicles
Architect
Bradfield JCC
Builder
Evans Deakin-Hornibrook Constructions Pty Ltd
Construction period
1935–1940, Story Bridge (1935 - 1940)
Historical period
1919–1930s Interwar period

Location

Addresses
LGA
Brisbane City Council
Coordinates
-27.46627667, 153.03578045

Map

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The Story Bridge, erected 1935-40, is significant as a major example of Queensland Labor Government involvement in employment-generating schemes during the 1930s depression.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

It is rare as the largest steel bridge designed, fabricated and constructed in Australia by Australians.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The structure is important for its landmark quality and aesthetic contribution to the Brisbane townscape, and is significant to the Queensland community as a symbol of Brisbane.

Criterion FThe place is important in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period.

The Story Bridge is important in demonstrating a high degree of technical accomplishment as the largest span metal truss bridge in Australia, as a major engineering and construction feat, and as evidence of the design skills and vision of Dr JCC Bradfield.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

The Story Bridge is signifcant also as a major work by Queensland contractors Evans, Deakin & Co. Ltd and Hornibrook Constructions Pty Ltd.

History

This steel and concrete cantilevered bridge was constructed between 1935 and 1940 by contractors Evans Deakin-Hornibrook for the Queensland Government.

As early as January 1926 the Greater Brisbane Council's Cross River Commission had recommended the construction of a bridge at Kangaroo Point. Due to sectarian interests and prohibitive costs, however, the council chose instead to erect the Grey Street Bridge in 1929-32.

In 1933 the new Queensland Labor Government amended the Bureau of Industry Act, permitting the establishment of a Bridge Board chaired by JR Kemp, Commissioner for Main Roads, to plan a government-constructed toll bridge at Kangaroo Point.

Premature in terms of traffic requirements, the bridge was promoted as an employment-generating scheme. It was one of three such projects undertaken by the Queensland Government in the mid-1930s, the others being the Stanley River Dam and the University of Queensland campus at St Lucia.

Dr JCC Bradfield, designer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, was appointed consulting engineer on 1 January 1934. He chose JA Holt as supervising engineer for the design of the bridge and supervision of the contract. Design and site surveys were undertaken in 1934.

Although modelled on the Montreal Harbour Bridge, completed in 1930, Bradfield emphasised that the grey steel elevation of the bridge was designed to harmonise with Brisbane's natural skyline.

Tenders for the Kangaroo Point Bridge were called in January 1935. The contract was let to Evans Deakin-Hornibrook Constructions Pty Ltd, with a price of £1,154,000, and construction commenced in May.

The Story Bridge remains the largest steel bridge designed and built mostly by Australians from Australian materials. Approximately 95 per cent of the materials used were of Australian manufacture, and 89 per cent of the cost of works was expended in Queensland.

All the steelwork, approximately 12,000 tonnes, was fabricated at the Rocklea workshop of Evans, Deakin & Co. Ltd. One truss of each type of approach span, and all joints of the main bridge, were assembled at the workshop then dismantled before removal, ensuring there were no difficulties in erecting the steelwork on site.

The concrete work and erection of the superstructure was carried out on site by the MR Hornibrook organisation.

The bridge was constructed simultaneously from both ends, with the main piers erected first. Excavations for the southern pier necessitated men working in watertight airlock chambers within steel caissons up to 40 metres below ground level. This was the deepest airlock work done in Australia at the time.

The approach spans were erected by a hammer-head crane operating along a runway. Then the anchor-cantilever trusses were erected in five stages using a 40 tonne derrick crane running on a temporary track on the bridge deck. Finally the bridge was closed using a system of wedge devices inserted in the top and bottom chords of each truss at the ends of the suspended span.

During 1938, which was the busiest period of construction, close to 400 persons were employed in the workshops, offices and on site.

From mid-1935 to 1940 the bridge was known as the Jubilee Bridge, honouring George V, but when opened on 6 July 1940 it was named after JD Story, the Public Service Commissioner and a member of the Bridge Board. The designer and the chairman of the Bridge Board were honoured in the naming of the southern approach viaduct as the Bradfield Highway and the northern approach as Kemp Place.

Although an engineering success, the bridge was regarded initially as a white elephant, the toll being unpopular and the traffic demand negligible. Not until the arrival of American troops in 1942 was the Story Bridge fully utilised. Nevertheless, the final cost of £1.6 million was recuperated within seven years, and in 1947 the bridge was transferred to the Brisbane City Council and the toll was removed.

The Story Bridge has become one of Brisbane's most widely recognised landmarks. Its illumination, carried out by SEQEB in time for the 1986 Warana festival, reflects its unique status as a symbol of the city.

Description

The Story Bridge spans Petrie Bight from Kangaroo Point to Fortitude Valley.

It totals 1,072 metres in length, measured from the commencement of the retaining walls at the beginning of the southern approach, to the northern pier. It remains the largest span metal truss bridge in Australia, with a main span of 281.7 metres.

The elevated sections comprise six variations in structure:

* 111 metres of side retaining walls with a reinforced concrete roadway slab resting on fill;

* 72 metres of side curtain walls carrying an overhead suspended slab, assisted by concrete columns at 6.1 metre intervals beneath the slab;

* 118 metres of reinforced concrete beam and slab construction comprising nine spans arranged into three sets of three continuous spans;

* 93 metres of shallow steel Warren trusses supporting an overhead reinforced concrete deck;

* 228 metres of steel Pratt trusses supporting an overhead reinforced concrete deck;

* 446 metres of main bridge consisting of two 82.1 metre anchor spans and a main span of two cantilevers each 93.9 metres long supporting a suspended span 93.9 metres in length. An 18.3 metre reinforced concrete deck is carried between the steel trusses, and 3 metre concrete footways are carried on steel cantilevers outside the trusses on both sides.

The superstructure is supported by concrete piers. Above ground, the two principal piers consist of two tapered rectangular shafts, hollow to 7 metres below cap level, and tied together below cap level by a deep arched brace. The main southern pier is founded on two caissons driven to 40 metres below ground level and connected by a massive below-ground T-beam.

The height of the trusses over the main piers is 47.34 metres. The K type web member has been employed, and most of the joints are rigid. A lateral bracing system is fitted in the plane of the lower chords, and sway frames between the trusses stabilise the upper chords. The top chord panel members above the two end panels of the suspended span have not carried any load since construction, but have been retained to provide visual continuity along the upper chord.

The reinforced concrete deck is carried on transverse cross girders pinned to the trusses at panel points. These support longitudinal stringers at 3.35 metre centres, which in turn support transverse joists at 1.67 metre intervals, these being made composite with the deck. Expansion joints in the concrete deck occur at approximately every second panel point.

The bridge retains its original form, and currently carries a large volume of inner-city traffic in six lanes.

Image gallery

Location

Location of Story Bridge within Queensland
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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