January 11, 1986
The Gateway Bridge, spanning the Brisbane River in the state of Queensland in northeastern Australia (specifically along the eastern suburbs of the city of Brisbane), was opened to the public. These inaugural festivities, which one newspaper characterized as “a resounding success,” included approximately 200,000 individuals walking across the new bridge.
At that time, the structure’s main span of 853 feet (260 meters) was the longest in the world for a prestressed concrete-free cantilever bridge. This record stayed intact for 15 years. The six-lane Gateway Bridge’s box girder remains the largest prestressed concrete, single box in existence. It measures 49 feet (15 meters) deep at the pier with a box width of 39 feet (12 meters) and a total deck width of 72 feet (22 meters).
Nearly five months after the bridge’s actual opening, a more official dedication took place. Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, officiated at that ceremony. In a wry acknowledgement that the structure was already very much in use by that time, he declared that the bridge was “more open than usual.”
Another bridge made its debut at that location in May 2010, and both the Gateway Bridge and that one were collectively named the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges. In his longtime role as the chairman of the Queensland Treasury Corporation, Hielscher was widely credited with helping to strengthen the region’s economy.
Photo Credit: Kgbo (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)
For more information on the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges, please check out https://www.brisbane-australia.com/sir-leo-hielscher-bridges.html and https://digitalcollections.qut.edu.au/5951/