Ferrovial On the Road with Ferrovial. José Manuel Ballester

A bridge in Australian history

New South Wales, Australia

View more View full project

This great river may no longer bear that name, but it hasn’t lost the greatness of times gone by. Nor is it exactly a river as the name suggests.

Known as Clarence since 1839, one of Australia’s longest rivers is actually a vast estuary. Before meeting the sea after coursing over 400 kilometers, it crosses two twin bridges, one a symbol of the past and the other looking toward the future.

For many years, the only way to cross the Clarence was on board a barge. Its remains are still on the riverbanks. Near there was the site of the first Harwood Bridge, which opened in 1966. This bascule crowned a steel lattice that held it a few meters above the water. Today, the mechanical structures covering it can be seen from the heights of the newly inaugurated bridge over the Clarence River in Harwood.

The new bridge over the Clarence River overlooking its steel sibling.
The pillars lined in symmetrical pairs raise the bridge up to 30 meters above the river.
A row of U-shaped beams towers over 1,500 meters of the Clarence.
The line of concrete pillars supporting the bridge stretch out to the Australian horizon.

From either bank, the line of pillars supporting the new bridge stretches out to the horizon. Under the relentless Australian sun, the columns gradually raise the heavy concrete beams over 1.5 kilometers until they rise to 30 meters over the Clarence. There are 36 spans in all with a maximum width of 43.3 meters, making it the longest bridge on the Pacific Highway in New South Wales.

The new Harwood Bridge is already the most iconic of the 100 viaducts spanning the Australian highway. Its predecessor’s lifting mechanisms have been changed, allowing the height to be modified. This lets river traffic to pass without interrupting the flow of road traffic. The past and future of the Australian highway meet on the Clarence. There are just over 20 meters between the two bridges. The rest is history for this great island.


Google Play App Store