Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Transported by sleeve


In 1992, 60 years after the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened, a second crossing was forged from East Circular Quay to North Sydney, easing considerably the congestion on the Bridge. However, this time the crossing was below the water. The first photograph shows the entrance to the Harbour Tunnel from the Domain descending gradually beneath the Botanic Gardens about 35m below ground level, the tunnel continues beneath the Opera House Forecourt until it enters the immersed tunnel section which rests on the seabed 25m below water level.

It continues through this sleeve for about 1km before gradually rising the 55m to where my father is sitting on the bench surfacing about 300m behind him. The two photographs on either side of Dad, show a similar scene to each other but from opposing directions. The photo on the left is taken from the northern shore and shows the greenery of the Botanic Gardens in the centre of the image and the stretch of water to the right of the SOH beneath which the tunnel rests. The photo on the right is taken from the Tarpeian Way (on the southern shore )within the greenery of the Botanic Gardens. Beneath that chugging ferry, 86,000 cars each day pass through the immersed sleeve that is two totally separate 2 lane highways (oops ... lowways). The sleeve rests in a trench carved through the sea-floor (which was back-filled) with the sleeve then encased in a form of rock armour to protect it from maritime disasters and earthquakes.

I have not been able to date this old photograph of that sweep of Circular Quay that I have now shown on a couple of occasions. However, there is a horse and cart in the foreground, the tram appears to be of the trolley variety pre-electrification, and I can see the towers of Fort Macquarie on Bennelong Point which makes it pre-1905 at the latest. The tunnel now goes beneath that steam ship that is on the diagonal.

8 comments:

Jacob said...

Goodness, what a superb array of photographs. I've always considered Sydney one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and you confirm that every day.

I like the tunnels that go under the water, but find them a bit scary--could be I'm just claustrophobic, but at my age I've found that when things can go wrong, they often do...

Julie said...

Every time I drive through I wonder what chance you would have if it filled with water. Answer=none. Every time I drive my elderly father through he looks from dripping water. I think if you could measure the salt on the skin of people driving through it would be raised.

brattcat said...

Your dad photographed from the back, looks so fragile, Julie. It's wonderful that you are able to spend time with him. These photographs are so fine, and your commentary so informative. Thank you.

PJ said...

We don't have terribly complicated highway transportation but we are finishing up a huge Interstate building project. It was necessary, terribly inconvenient, and well worth the trouble. I hope it was worth it for you as well, it sounds like an engineering marvel.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Gosh, you are a encyclopedia on the tunnel. I rarely use it ... prefer to enjoy the view from the bridge.

Julie said...

Joan: Depends on where I am going and with whom. Oft times with Dad I take the Bridge there and the tunnel back.

Brattcat: His fragility goes with the territory as he is nearly 88. We drive somewhere each Saturday for about 3 hours which we both enjoy.

Paula: It was a bit of a marvel but all cities have that sort of marvel nowadays. It is certainly worth while - but not free.

cara said...

Such a wealth of Sydney Harbour information!

I really like that picture of your dad. It's amazing how much you can show of a person without actually showing a face or hands or skin really.

Steffe said...

A bit of history here, and that is always interesting to see and read.