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The Story Bridge is a heritage-listed steel cantilever bridge spanning the Brisbane River that carries vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the northern and the southern suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia.

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Australia
Story Bridge, Brisbane, Australia

A bridge downstream of the Victoria Bridge was part of a larger plan, devised by Professor Roger Hawken of the University of Queensland in the 1920s, for a series of bridges over the Brisbane River to alleviate congestion on Victoria Bridge and to divert traffic away from the Brisbane central business district. The William Jolly Bridge was the first of the Hawken Plan bridges to be constructed. Lack of funds precluded the construction of the downstream bridge at that time. Initially plans called for a transporter bridge further downstream near New Farm.

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Australia
Story Bridge, Brisbane, Australia

The Queensland Government appointed John Bradfield on 15 December 1933 as consulting engineer to the Bureau of Industry who were in charge of the construction of the bridge. In June 1934 Bradfield's recommendation of a steel cantilever bridge was approved. The design for the bridge was based heavily on that of the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, completed in 1930. On 30 April 1935 a consortium of two Queensland companies, Evans Deakin and Hornibrook Constructions, won the tender with a bid of £1,150,000.

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Australia
Story Bridge, Brisbane, Australia

Construction on the bridge began on 24 May 1935, with the first sod being turned by the then Premier of Queensland, William Forgan Smith. Components for the bridge were fabricated in a purpose-built factory at Rocklea. Work sometimes continued 24 hours per day. The bridge has only one pier on the northern bank but two piers on the lower southern bank, one to bear the weight (the main pier) and, further to the south, one to prevent the bridge from twisting (the anchor pier).

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Australia
Story Bridge, Brisbane, Australia

There was no need for an anchor pier on the northern bank as the bridge was anchored into schist cliff face. The major challenge in constructing the bridge was the southern foundations that went 40 metres below ground level. It was not possible to excavate to that level as water from the level would rapidly seep in. So a pneumatic caisson technique had to be used. As men were working under pressures of up to 4 times normal air pressure, a decompression period of almost 2 hours was needed at the end of each shift to avoid the bends.

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