Building the Auckland Harbour Bridge – 50-year celebration

Building the Auckland Harbour Bridge – 50-year celebration

The sheer logistics of building a bridge across the Waitemata Harbour, the largest project of its time in New Zealand, were always going to be daunting. The excavation required – both underwater for the piers and on land for the approaches – meant that 13,000cu m of earth, mud and spoil had to be shifted. More than 17,000cu m of concrete was poured, and 12,540cu m of road surfacing material found. More than 7000 tonnes of steel were needed for the box girders and superstructure. Deciding on the colour of the bridge was a marathon effort. After 20 months’ deliberation, battleship grey – technically St Enoch’s grey – was chosen because of its heat-reflective properties. Today, it still takes eight years to paint the whole bridge. Even on opening day, May 30, 1959, the numbers were impressive. To feed the 1000 invited guests at the buffet luncheon required 3600 oysters, 25 large hams and 100 crayfish. By the end of that first day, 34,198 vehicles had crossed the bridge – despite breakdowns that caused traffic jams that stretched back to King’s Wharf on the south side and Hall’s Corner in Takapuna in the north.

The sheer logistics of building a bridge across the Waitemata Harbour, the largest project of its time in New Zealand, were always going to be daunting. The excavation required – both underwater for the piers and on land for the approaches – meant that 13,000cu m of earth, mud and spoil had to be shifted. More than 17,000cu m of concrete was poured, and 12,540cu m of road surfacing material found. More than 7000 tonnes of steel were needed for the box girders and superstructure. Deciding on the colour of the bridge was a marathon effort. After 20 months’ deliberation, battleship grey – technically St Enoch’s grey – was chosen because of its heat-reflective properties. Today, it still takes eight years to paint the whole bridge. Even on opening day, May 30, 1959, the numbers were impressive. To feed the 1000 invited guests at the buffet luncheon required 3600 oysters, 25 large hams and 100 crayfish. By the end of that first day, 34,198 vehicles had crossed the bridge – despite breakdowns that caused traffic jams that stretched back to King’s Wharf on the south side and Hall’s Corner in Takapuna in the north.

The sheer logistics of building a bridge across the Waitemata Harbour, the largest project of its time in New Zealand, were always going to be daunting. The excavation required – both underwater for the piers and on land for the approaches – meant that 13,000cu m of earth, mud and spoil had to be shifted. More than 17,000cu m of concrete was poured, and 12,540cu m of road surfacing material found. More than 7000 tonnes of steel were needed for the box girders and superstructure. Deciding on the colour of the bridge was a marathon effort. After 20 months’ deliberation, battleship grey – technically St Enoch’s grey – was chosen because of its heat-reflective properties. Today, it still takes eight years to paint the whole bridge. Even on opening day, May 30, 1959, the numbers were impressive. To feed the 1000 invited guests at the buffet luncheon required 3600 oysters, 25 large hams and 100 crayfish. By the end of that first day, 34,198 vehicles had crossed the bridge – despite breakdowns that caused traffic jams that stretched back to King’s Wharf on the south side and Hall’s Corner in Takapuna in the north.

The sheer logistics of building a bridge across the Waitemata Harbour, the largest project of its time in New Zealand, were always going to be daunting. The excavation required – both underwater for the piers and on land for the approaches – meant that 13,000cu m of earth, mud and spoil had to be shifted. More than 17,000cu m of concrete was poured, and 12,540cu m of road surfacing material found. More than 7000 tonnes of steel were needed for the box girders and superstructure. Deciding on the colour of the bridge was a marathon effort. After 20 months’ deliberation, battleship grey – technically St Enoch’s grey – was chosen because of its heat-reflective properties. Today, it still takes eight years to paint the whole bridge. Even on opening day, May 30, 1959, the numbers were impressive. To feed the 1000 invited guests at the buffet luncheon required 3600 oysters, 25 large hams and 100 crayfish. By the end of that first day, 34,198 vehicles had crossed the bridge – despite breakdowns that caused traffic jams that stretched back to King’s Wharf on the south side and Hall’s Corner in Takapuna in the north.

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