Department of State GrowthTransport

Tasman Bridge

Fast facts about our busiest link across the Derwent:

  • In 1943, the Hobart Bridge—an unstable, floating design—was completed between the eastern and western shores
  • The Hobart Bridge was one of the first in Australia to have a section that lifted to allow vessels to pass beneath
  • In 1956 engineers began designing a replacement to handle a booming population
  • Construction on the Tasman Bridge began in 1960
  • The official opening for the Tasman Bridge was on 29 March 1965, presided over by former Governor-General of Australia Prince Henry
  • The estimated total cost of the bridge was £7,000,000
  • On 5 January 1975, the bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra collided with several pylons, severely damaging the bridge and killing 7 crew members and 5 motorists
  • For the year after the disaster, a number of private and public ferries helped carry more than 25,000 people across the Derwent each day, before a temporary Bailey, or pre-fabricated floating bridge was put in place
  • The reconstructed Tasman Bridge re-opened on 8 October 1977
  • The reconstruction cost totalled roughly $33,300,000, with upgrades including impact absorbing pile caps on the main section of the bridge, and the addition of a fifth lane
  • The addition of a fifth lane enabled the peak flow management system – still in place today – where three lanes can be prioritised in one direction during peak times
  • In 1982, roughly 44,000 vehicles travelled over the Tasman Bridge every day
  • In 2017, roughly 70,000 vehicles travel over the bridge every day
  • In 2017, more than 100,000 vehicles travel over the Tasman, Bowen and Bridgewater bridges every day
  • Large vessels are towed by tug boat when they travel below the bridge, and all traffic is stopped
  • With regular maintenance, the bridge’s expected remaining life is at least 40-50 years

The Tasman Bridge in 2015. Photo by State Growth/Sandessa Foster.

The peak flow management system is still in place today.

Tasman Bridge under construction in 1962.