Captain Cook Bridge anniversary a reminder of unfinished work

50 years on: The Captain Cook Bridge carries and average of 30,600 vehicles on an average week day.
50 years on: The Captain Cook Bridge carries and average of 30,600 vehicles on an average week day.

The 50th anniversary of the opening of Captain Cook Bridge was a reminder of the need to complete the ‘‘bold vision’’ and extend the F6 motorway, State Parliament was told.

Miranda MP Eleni Petinos recalled how the bridge, which was opened by then Governor Sir Eric Woodward on May 29, 1965, was to have been the first component of a Southern Expressway linking Sydney’s expanding suburbs to the industrial Illawarra region.

‘‘The Southern Expressway was an embryonic form of what we now conceive is the proposed modern-day F6 motorway, which would also link the industrial Illawarra regions to the city,’’ she said.

‘‘Unfortunately, only the individual sections of the Southern Expressway were completed between Sydney and Wollongong, which has left southern Sydney, our great shire, with the same challenge the area faced 50 years ago.

‘‘In 1965 the then Department of Main Roads invested in a bold vision of limitless potential for the people it served."

‘‘Half a century on, we must take up the mantle and complete its vision and invest in an F6 motorway.’’

Ms Petinos said the bridge had become an ‘‘emblem of the shire’’ and an ‘‘iconic entrance point’’.

At the time it was built, there was a desperate need to divert traffic from Tom Uglys Bridge, which was carrying more traffic than any three lanes of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, she said.

The punt between Taren Point and Sans Souci was at full capacity, carrying 1000 cars across the river each day.

Ms Petinos said the new bridge was to have the capacity of carrying 30,000 cars a day.

It now coped with 30,600 vehicles on an average week day, she said.


Ms Petinos said Captain Cook Bridge was linked to the Sydney Opera House because the two had synchronised construction time lines, and shared machinery.

‘‘James Condon, a narrator of promotional films for the then Department of Main Roads, declared Captain Cook Bridge as a bold symbol of the nation’s progress,’’ she said.

‘‘The bridge is a bold symbol not only of the progress of the nation but also of the potential of the shire as a hub of development and a major access point for industry.’’