Trains will not be able to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first 10 days of next year, with the structure’s 88-year-old rail corridor to be completely replaced.
- The bridge’s timber deck will be replaced with a concrete structure
- Bus services will run from North Sydney to replace trains
- The NSW Government says New Year’s Eve celebrations will not be impacted
The timber deck will be traded for a concrete structure; the replacement of which will see no trains run across the bridge for the first 10 days of January.
The acting chief executive of Sydney Trains, Suzanne Holden, said the mammoth project had been five years in the making.
“This is a very innovative approach to dealing with our iconic bridge and making sure that we extend the life of the railway for 120 years,” she said.
“It is a huge piece of work. We will be working around the clock to make sure that we really maximise the use of the 10 days.
“We really have choreographed this down to the last minute.”
In a tip of the hat to the bridge’s history, the new concrete sections are being put together at the Chullora Railway Workshops — the same facility used to assemble components of the bridge in the 1930s.
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said a downturn in bridge use over the New Year period provided an ideal window of opportunity for the work to be completed.
“Typically in the first two weeks of January patronage is down by 40 per cent, and of course with COVID the numbers are down even further,” he said.
“We are going to be running bus services from North Sydney through to various points across the city and replace the trains which would otherwise cross the bridge.
“This is also against another backdrop where we are providing across the entire summer period an additional 1,200 services across the week.”
He said the Harbour Bridge rail shutdown would not impact revellers returning home from New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“Obviously we’re going to provide the necessary transport services based on the restrictions that will be in place in terms of New Year’s Eve, recognising that there is going to be a requirement for people if they are coming to the city to be booked into functions and what have you.
“We’re working closely with NSW Health in the design of that response.”