Construction started on the bridge in 1960. It was completed and opened to traffic on 17th August, 1964. The bridge has a total length (including approaches) of 1395m - longer than the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The bridge provides the main traffic route from the CBD (on the western shore) to the eastern shore - particularly the airport and Bellerive Oval.
On the 5th of January 1975, the Tasman Bridge was struck by the bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra, causing a massive section of concrete to fall from the bridge and sink the ship. Seven crewman and five motorists were killed. The depth of the river at this point is so great that the wreck of Lake Illawarra lies on the bottom, with concrete slab on top of it, without presenting a navigation hazard to smaller vessels. Large vessels passing beneath the bridge, must now do so slightly to the west of the original main navigation span.