Queensland’s most recognisable bridge will soon undergo the makeover of a lifetime, with Brisbane City Council planning to blast bare, paint and restore the 79-year old Story Bridge to prolong its life.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the cost of rebuilding another iconic bridge could cost up to $1 billion so it was vital Council continued to maintain the Story Bridge to ensure it continued to stand as an iconic figure on Brisbane’s skyline.

“There will never be another Story Bridge and, with it now approaching its 80th year, it is vital that we undertake works so it can continue to help residents get home quicker and safer,” Cr Quirk said.

“Next week (19 February), we will be putting forward a plan to extend its life by stripping old paint, cleaning it and giving it a 105,000 square-metre face lift.

“The restoration will require more than 33,000 litres of paint; the equivalent weight of 14 African elephants or the surface area of 400 tennis courts.

“Works are expected to commence after Riverfire and will be carried out in stages over a five-year period to ensure the Story Bridge can continue to be used by traffic and feature in some of our city’s favourite festivities.”

Cr Quirk said the heritage-listed Story Bridge carried more than 30 million vehicles every year and was a vital link between the north and south sides of the Brisbane River.

“At a main span of more than 280-metres, the Story Bridge is the largest metal truss bridge in Australia and remains the largest steel bridge to be predominantly designed and built by Australians, from Australian materials,” he said.

“Building the 22-storey high structure was no small feat, with planning starting approximately 15 years before works started on the Story Bridge.

“Construction started in May 1935 and continued for five years, with the final cost of building the one-kilometre bridge coming in at £1,492,000.

“Close to 12,000 tonnes of steel was fabricated in Rocklea, with 400 people employed to build the bridge at the height of the its construction making it one of Queensland’s main employment-generating projects during the 1930s Depression.

“Its construction also required the deepest airlock work done in Australia at the time, with workers lowered up to 40 metres below ground level to excavate for the southern pier.”

The Story Bridge restoration project is expected to cost approximately $80 million subject to tender proposals, with works anticipated to commence in late-2019.