If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter then you may have seen some of these the other day. If you haven’t, here is a collection of some great old colour photos of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and St Mary’s Bay before they both got fatter with more traffic lanes. The images come from Denis Wilford and were taken between 1960 and 1964. It always amazes me just how slender the bridge looked back then before the clip ons and also how much space there still was around St Mary’s Bay even with the road rammed through it. In 1964 the bridge had traffic of around 22,000 vehicles per day, by comparison at its peak in 2006 it carried almost 169,000 vehicles.

The Auckland Harbour Bridge from the southern end – 1964
The Auckland Harbour Bridge from the air, with Birkenhead, Devonport and Takapuna. The Hauraki Gulf beyond – 1963
The Auckland Harbour Bridge from the air, with Birkenhead beyond and the Westhaven Marina in the foreground – 1963
The Auckland Harbour Bridge from London St – 1961
The Auckland Harbour Bridge with Auckland City beyond – 1961
On the way over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, travelling north – 1960
On the way over the bridge, travelling north, looking over to Auckland City and Westhaven Marina – 1960
The motorway from downtown Auckland City to the Auckland Harbour Bridge – 1960
The motorway from downtown Auckland City to the Auckland Harbour Bridge – 1964
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16 comments

  1. Pretty much how I remembered it until I came back to Auckland for a period in the early 2000s: a deft structure that touched the harbour relatively lightly. It was a shock to see the carmageddon it had been turned into with clunky, over-engineered additions – not so much the Clip-on but the approach roads and all the other engineering obscenities we’ve grown accustomed to. Hopefully Skypath will restore a sense of environmental connection that’s been subsumed in the traffic sewer.

    1. And put that traffic control tower back along with the waiting emergency vehicle to clear away the carnage that would result.

      1. In that case we’ve got a road transport system that is not fit for purpose in safety terms and the whole damn thing should be shut down. Like Kiwirail gets threatened with when it suffers safety lapses that are trivial in comparison.

  2. Wow, it looks flimsy! Love the old give way sign at the on-ramp, and “EXIT 1/2 MILE”. Anyone know what the speed limit was back then?

    1. It does look light. But this is the stronger part, it was designed to carry a column of main battle tanks to meet an enemy in Northland. While the clippons were designed for a truck axle load.

  3. It’s amazing how different the bridge looks in profile. My initial reaction is it looks very stark and flimsy, but it’s growing on me. It is rather simple and elegant. Everything’s nice and slender, even the concrete supporting pillars.

    1. Yes the leaflet I have from 1971 says the Vic Park Viaduct opened April 1962 and the southern motorway off ramp to Symonds St opened December 1966 with the onramp at Symonds St opening in December 1971. So after April 62 you got on at Union pre April 62 you got on at Beaumont.

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