Major restoration works have begun on Lansdowne Bridge in Sydney’s south-west.
As one of Australia’s oldest sandstone bridges, this will be the first significant restoration on Lansdowne Bridge in more than 50 years.
Transport for NSW Sydney Maintenance Director, David Fishburn, said the 33m arch was built by convicts in the 1830s and boasts the largest span of any surviving masonry bridge in Australia.
“The heritage-listed bridge carries eastbound traffic from the Hume Highway across Prospect Creek and has been an historic part of Sydney’s road network for more than 180 years,” Mr Fishburn said.
“The size, appearance and durability of the bridge, which connects the suburbs of Canley Vale and Carramar, make it an outstanding example of colonial engineering.
“The bridge hasn’t needed a complete maintenance upgrade since 1966 but it’s now time to ensure we protect its structural integrity, heritage values and character into the future.”
Work will be carried out until late 2020, weather permitting and excluding public holidays.
Work includes replacing sandstone blocks, cleaning the stone and repairing the drainage system to help reduce the pace of corrosion.
A waterproof layer added in 1966 had the aim of preserving the stonework but has caused some of the sandstone surface to degrade. The bridge structure itself is in good condition but we need to take action now.
Lansdowne Bridge was opened on 26 January 1836 and is the second-oldest surviving sandstone bridge in NSW, behind the Lennox Bridge at Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains, completed three years earlier.
Tasmania’s Richmond Bridge – opened in 1825 – is believed to be the oldest sandstone bridge still in use in Australia.
Governor Sir Richard Bourke laid the foundation stone and named the bridge after the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne. Lansdowne Bridge was listed on the State Heritage Register in 2000.
Designed by David Lennox, the bridge is 65m long and 10m wide, constructed from sandstone sourced downstream on the Georges River.
Transport for NSW has carried out consultation with Fairfield City Council and the Heritage Council of NSW and the community will be kept updated as work progresses.