New access system proposed for SHB painters

11 June 2014

Painters no longer swinging on top of Sydney Harbour Bridge

It has been 17 years since the upper level of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – high above the road deck - has been repainted.

Wind the clock back to 1997 and workers had to carefully use wooden planks to access the work position, with a rope between two chords used to run a swinging stage.

“These methods were extremely dangerous and risky to the workers and the traffic below and posed significant environmental risk to the Harbour,” a Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said.

So, with painting the upper levels due again, Roads and Maritime Services has called for a Registration of Interest for the design and construction of a mechanised access system for the Bridge.

“The proposed access system will be powered and run along the top two chords,” the spokesperson said.

“It is anticipated the system will also have a mechanised stage that can be manouvred to access any part of the upper level of the bridge.

“The access system Roads and Maritime propose will enable workers to operate safely, capture paint waste and improve productivity, a huge improvement from the planks and swinging ropes of the past.”

A new scaffolding system has been in operation this year under the Bridge and has proved a success, with the safety improvements resulting in production rates increasing by 50 per cent.

The “Haki” platform system now in use under the Bridge was designed in Sweden and has been used successfully across Europe on various structures including bridges.

“The proposal for the top of the Bridge aims for similar safety improvements and increases in productivity,” the spokesperson said.

“The first stage of the Registration of Interest is to find an experienced organisation that can demonstrate an understanding of what is needed and offer some viable solutions, before supplying and installing the new system.”

The Registration of Interest closes at 2.30pm on 1 July and can be lodged to

More information can be found on the Roads and Maritime website at

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