She asked if they knew what 80th 'birthday' was approaching. Several of them knew that the 80th anniversary of the completion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was around the corner. Jane showed them a photo from the local newpaper.
|Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932)|
|Tyne Bridge, Newcastle (1928)|
|Hell Gate Bridge, New York (1916)|
If one starts reading about 'through arch bridges' it turns out there is an even older one in Vermont, simply called Arch Bridge. However, while this was quite an innovation in the US at the time, the through arch is an improvement on a Roman design. The Romans built Newcastle's first bridge, called Pons Aelius, near the site of the present Tyne Bridge in about 122.
Getting completely carried away with through arch bridges, it turns out that Sydney Harbour is not the largest either. That distinction is currently held by the Lupu Bridge in Shanghai.
I'm pretty sure Jane didn't get quite this carried away in her lesson, but I must admit that I slipped out before I had to talk English with her students as I figured my American accent would just confuse them.
|Arch Bridge, between Vermont and New Hampshire (1905)|