The nature of the strata underlying the river bed is shown on the above geological
cross section. It will be seen that the major part of the bridge is founded
on either basalt or dolerite at depths up to 160 feet below water level. Beneath
Piers 4 to 8, the dolerite is as much as 300 feet below water surface and
is overlayed by very stiff clays, a thin layer of coarse gravel and shingle,
very stiff sandy loam and conglomerate.
Overall length including approaches 4,650 feet.
Waterway width 3,500 feet.
Main Viaduct spans (19) 140 feet.
Overall width 57'-2".
Width of roadway 44 ft. consisting of four 11 ft lanes, since the rebuild, five lanes 3.350 meters wide.
Width of footways 4 ft each.
Main Viaduct Deck
Supported by six concrete beams 140 ft in length and weighing approximately
90 tons each.
Main Viaduct Columns
Each column is 10 ft wide and 2' 6" thick. Each of the columns adjacent
to the main navigation channel is 10 ft. wide and 12 ft. thick, and next to
these at limits of secondary navigation spans are columns 10 ft. wide and
8 ft. thick.
3,364 ft. consisting of two navigation flanking spans of 197 ft. and nineteen
spans of 140 ft. which 13 lie to the west of the navigation spans and 6 to
Western bank - 435 ft.
Eastern bank - 850 ft.
The underside of the central navigation span is more that 150 feet above mean
Piles (Under Water)
216 piles made of 54" diameter steel tubing.
Deepest pile 265 feet below M.W.L.
There is a 4ft. 6 ins. footway on each side on the roadway; beneath each footway,
are 15 inch diameter water mains, electricity supply and Telstra cables.
Quantities of Materials
Cement - 8,000 tons..
Steel tubing for piles - 33,000 ft., 54 in. in diameter.
Total quantity of concrete - 80,000 cubic yards..
Tons of reinforcing steel - 5,200
Total length of prestressing cables - 72.5 miles.
Sand - 20,000 cubic yards
Cost of Works
The total cost of the new Tasman Bridge together with approach roads and Lindisfarne
interchange was in the order of 7,000,000.00 pounds. Construction commenced
about May, 1960 and the bridge was first opened to traffic (2 lanes only)
on 18th August, 1964. The bridge was completed with all four lanes operational
on 23rd December 1964. During peak construction a labour force of over 400
men was employed on site.
Construction Authority - Public Works Department of Tasmania.
Consulting Engineers, G. Maunsell and Partners, London, England.
Contractor, Reed, Braithwaite, Stuart and Lipscombe, Salisbury, England.
Official Date of Commencement of Bridge Contract, 31 January, 1960.
Construction Commenced, April 1960.
First ship to pass under bridge, Galway, 18th August 1964.
Four lanes opened to traffic, 23rd December, 1964.
Official opening planned for 2.20 pm on Thursday, 18th March, 1965 by H.R.H
the Duke of Gloucester.
Designed traffic capacity, approximately 34,000 vehicles per day.
Tasman Bridge Disaster
On the evening of Sunday, 5th January, 1975 at 9.27 pm, the bulk ore carrier
"SS Lake Illawarra" loaded with zinc concentrate, collided with
the Tasman Bridge. Two piers collapsed along with 127 meters of decking. Four
cars ran over the gap into the Derwent, five occupants died, while several
others managed to escape from their vehicles which were hanging on the edge
of the gap. Seven crewmen from the "SS Lake Illawarra" also lost
Tasman Bridge Repair
Immediately after the Bridge collapsed, the Federal and State Governments
set up the Joint Tasman Bridge Restoration Commission to direct the reconstruction
of the Bridge. Specialists in the marine engineering field undertook an extensive
investigation to locate bridge debris. This survey took a number of months
to complete, and parts of the bridge weighing up to 500 tons were located
to an accuracy of a few inches, using equipment developed by the University
of Tasmania and the Public Works Department.
Maunsell and Partners were appointed consultants for the rebuilding project.
John Holland Contractors were awarded the contract. The Federal Government
funded the project which began in October 1975. The Tasman Bridge was initially
designed to carry four lanes of traffic, however prior to the disaster, heavy
demands had been placed on the bridge during peak times. It was decided to
widen the bridge as part of the reconstruction works to carry five lanes of
The Tasman Bridge took about two years to re-build at a cost of approximately
$ 44 million. The Tasman Bridge was officially re-opened to the public on
Saturday 8 October, 1977.