Sydney Harbor Pedestrian Crossing

Sydney, Australia



This pedestrian bridge was proposed to create a convenient multi-modal connection from Ballaarat Park and surrounding areas to the new Bangaroo development site. The project was commissioned by a developer looking for alternatives to the present access and travel distances from the Star Casino site and adjacent mixed use development.

The site of the bridge was at the narrowest point of the entry to Pyrmont Bay directly west of the City Center. The crossing had to be designed to not inhibit the movement of ferries and smaller watercraft. To achieve this, the bridge had to clear span across the approximately 275meter inlet or be broken with a drawbridge element. Additionally, the number of piers in the water had to be minimized so any acceptable solution required a clear or almost clear span across the inlet. This condition removed a conventional shorter span structure from the study.

From an urban design perspective the structure was conceived to be 6m wide and needed to be scaled to the pedestrian/bicycle user and, within the complex urban context, should be identifiable both a point of reference and landmark. Bridge types/configurations studied included


Suspension Bridge

The suspension bridge, by nature of the need for a more continuous and balanced geometry, was precluded from having a drawbridge component. It was required to be raised up high enough to allow watercraft to pass below.  This created 12+meter transitions at each approach that requires complex stair/ramp and elevator components to move between the bridge deck and grade.


Cable Stay (with variants)

The cable stay solution created more flexibility in the development of the crossing as this structrural type did not necessarily need to span the entire inlet. The proposal was to span over half the void and insert a 55m long drawbridge element to allow the movement of watercraft.  While more complex and requiring more coordination, this solution kept the pedestrian at grade at the approaches creating more of a promenade integrating the crossing into the existing urban landscape.


This project was designed by Steve Chucovich while at Buro Happold



View of Pyrmont Bay looking toward the bridge site

Suspension Bridge

Alternative with the

deck elevation that allow watercraft to pass below.

Cable Stay Bridge

Alternative with

drawbridge for access

of watercraft to Pyrmont