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60 years of the Bribie Island bridge


By Sheree Hoddinett

While the topic of a second Bribie bridge still remains at the forefront of our minds, it’s time to take a little trip down memory lane. This year marks 60 years of the current/one and only Bribie bridge and what a journey it has been.

When the Bongaree Jetty was built in 1912, visitors to the Island would travel by boat. A number of steamships including the Koopa and Doomba transported people from Brisbane to the Island. When car travel became more popular in the 1940s, a car/passenger ferry service was used between Bribie and Toorbul Point. Being able to transport vehicles to the Island resulted in a hive of infrastructure activity and more homes being built. 

The idea of a bridge to Bribie Island had been discussed for many years and on November 17, 1959 came an official announcement that the bridge would be built. The construction took almost two years with about 40 men involved in the building of the bridge, thankfully no lives were lost or any major injuries reported at the time.

Spanning 2736 feet (831.4 m) the bridge cost $716,321 to build and with a 10 shilling toll, the bridge officially opened on Saturday October 19, 1963 by the then premier of Queensland, Frank Nicklin.

The first toll ticket was purchased by Premier Nicklin and the last toll ticket was purchased by Bribie resident Stan Balmer on March 22, 1975. Jack Greenhalgh was the Toll Master for the duration of the toll period October 20, 1963 to March 22, 1975. The popularity of visiting the Island definitely showed in how quickly the toll was paid off!

At the time it was constructed, the bridge was the longest pre-stressed, pre-cast concrete bridge in Australia. There are 104 beams each weighing 18 tons. The beams of pre-stressed concrete are each 21.9m long and 1.4m deep. At the centre of the bridge there is also a clearance of 7.3m at low tide to cater for small craft. Bribie Island bridge consists of two traffic lanes and a pedestrian pathway.

Over the years there have been several anniversary celebrations held for the Bribie Island bridge which today remains the only road link between the Island and the mainland.

Were you living on the Island before and after the bridge was built and would love to share your story and/or photos too? Please get in touch with us via stories@islandandsurroundsnews.com.au

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