The Highest Bridge in Victoria Will Give You Vertigo
The West Gate Bridge is the highest bridge in Victoria, Australia. It is also one of Australia’s longest bridges, with an impressive length of 1.6 miles.
If you don’t like bridges, the West Gate Bridge will surely give you vertigo. Fortunately, as you would travel the bridge by car, you wouldn’t be on it for long.
The Noojee Trestle Bridge is another impressive bridge in Victoria, Australia. It is much shorter than the West Gate Bridge, but it is the tallest remaining wooden trestle bridge. Not only that, but it is one of the few trestle bridges left in all of Australia.
The West Gate Bridge
The West Gate Bridge is the tallest bridge in Victoria, Australia. The massive structure rises 190 feet into the air and spans 8,202 feet across the Yarra River of Melbourne.
The vast bridge holds several lanes of traffic and is used by over 205,000 cars daily. The behemoth connects suburban western Melbourne and the Central Business District (CBD).
You can read more about the West Gate Bridge and learn about the Bolte and Princes Bridges — two of Victoria’s largest bridges based on height AND length.
What Kind of Bridge is the West Gate Bridge?
The West Gate Bridge is a cantilever bridge designed to support a massive amount of weight.
Cantilever bridges are made with projecting beams known as cantilevers. Each cantilever is only supported on one end. These bridges usually have three spans, and each cantilever is meant to support the main span.
These types of bridges are commonly built over rivers and other water bodies. They allow people to carry heavy loads safely across a large span of water.
The West Gate Bridge’s Tragic History
While the West Gate Bridge is one of the most impressive bridges in Victoria’s history, it also has a tragic past.
The bridge did not open until 1978; construction lasted for many years before that. On October 15, 1970, a 367-foot span of the bridge collapsed.
In the collapse, 35 workers lost their lives, and 18 others were injured. The West Gate Bridge collapse is still one of the worst industrial accidents in Australia’s history.
Several major design flaws led to the collapse. Workers completely redesigned the bridge after the collapse. They wanted to ensure it was safe, and rebuilding commenced.
A First-Hand Collapse of the Bridge Collapse
Robbo Bennett was a worker present when the bridge collapsed in 1970. Fortunately, he survived and was there to help with its reconstruction. Recalling the event, he says, “Life and death was a raffle.”
One man, Jesus, “Rose from among the dead after riding a box down to the ground.”
Another man, Eddie, left a lift and looked up to see 2,000 tons of concrete and steel coming toward him.
In a desperate race for his life, Eddie ran from the collapsing debris. He was hit by a violent windblast that catapulted him several yards through the air.
Bennett explains that the first men to take the lift down survived. Many who had to wait for the second lift died.
Some men decided to stay home that day because they weren’t feeling well and were spared from the disaster.
Meanwhile, many men who filled in for those who didn’t show up died.
The Dangers of Bridge Building
Unfortunately, the workers were told many times that the bridge was safe. This false information likely caused more deaths. Workers didn’t begin to evacuate as quickly as they might have.
Bridge building seems to be a dangerous and deadly endeavor, even when the crew takes every precaution to ensure their safety. Read about some of the deadliest bridge collapses in Canada.
The Bolte Bridge
Sitting closely behind the West Gate Bridge is the Bolte Bridge at 180 feet tall. This massive bridge also has a length of 1.5 miles that spans across the Yarra River.
Similar to the West Gate Bridge, the Bolte Bridge connects the suburbs of Northern Melbourne with the Central Business District (CBD).
The Noojee Trestle Bridge — The Tallest Wooden Trestle Bridge in Victoria
The Noojee Trestle Bridge only rises 69 feet high. Still, it is Victoria’s tallest wooden trestle bridge.
Other wooden trestle bridges were similar or taller in height. Yet, the Nojee Trestle Bridge is the tallest one still standing today.
This wooden trestle bridge is far longer than it is tall. It spans 335 feet through a beautiful forest.
The History of the Noojee Trestle Bridge
Workers initially built the bridge in 1919. Unfortunately, the bridge only survived for 20 years until it burnt down in 1939. Despite the fire, workers managed to rebuild the bridge in less than a year.
The Noojee Trestle Bridge used to carry trains from Noojee to Warragul, though trains no longer use it.
How to Enjoy the Noojee Trestle Bridge
Today, the trestle bridge is the perfect place for visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery and get some exercise.
The Noojee Trestle Bridge Rail Trail runs alongside the old train tracks. Bikers can take the 1.9-mile trail and enjoy the beautiful fern forest surrounding them.
Visitors who don’t enjoy biking can try the Noojee Trestle Bridge Walk trail. It is 3.7 miles long and takes about two hours to walk.