Captain Cook Bridge

The Captain Cook Bridge is a vehicular bridge which crosses the South Brisbane Reach of the Brisbane River linking the M3 Pacific Highway to the M3 Riverside Expressway.

Captain Cook Bridge and CityCat from Kangaroo Point Park 2010. (, J.R. McPherson, ID P1040637)

It is a multi-span, precast prestressed concrete free-cantilever bridge with drop-in-mid-spans. Its total length is 555 m, the longest span is 183 m and it has a clearance of 12.7 m.  ( It was designed to carry 43,000 vehicles per day at an estimated cost in 1968 of $24 million.

Captain Cook Bridge and South Bank from the Botanic Gardens, 1994 (Brisbane City Council Archives)

Construction started under three different contracts : the southern approach and the Stanley-Vulture Street interchange were done by Thiess Bros; the bridge was built by  Transfield Constructions and McDougall-Ireland built  the South Brisbane superstructure. Work began in 1968 and was completed at the end of 1972.

Construction of the Captain Cook Bridge, 1970. (State Library of Queensland)

 ‘The bridge forms part of the Riverside Expressway. A box casting yard is visible on the narrow riverbank below the Kangaroo Point Cliffs at the south abutment. A gantry crane was used to stack the completed boxes along the riverbank. A floating crane was used during construction of the bridge. Inner city buildings are visible from the construction site, with Mount Coot-tha and the Victoria Bridge in the background.’ (State Library of Queensland)

Captain Cook Bridge Naming Ceremony. (ABC Brisbane)

There was an official naming ceremony on 13 December 1972 and the bridge was  commissioned in January/February 1973.

Opening of the Captain Cook Bridge. (Queensland Places)

To commemorate the opening, the public was able to walk across it at a once-only event on Sunday 21 January 1973 organised by the Stones Corner Rotary Club.

Rotary Opening Certificate. (ABC Brisbane)

Since then the Captain Cook Bridge has become Queensland’s busiest traffic bridge with over 1 million cars crossing it per week in 2007. (sources:; engineering heritage; SLQ; images as noted beside each)

Captain Cook Bridge June 2019. (supplied)