Politicians have argued a safe crossing can’t be done due to the heritage value of the bridge.
This argument is a woefully inadequate justification to allow such a grave saftey risk to continue. If heritage is truly justification for doing nothing, then let’s take it back to how it was in 1867:
- dismantle the rail bridge that was built alongside the bridge 1907 – 40 years after the bridge’s opening
- remove the many plumbing, gas and electrical services mounted on and slung beneath the bridge
- remove line marking, sign posting and lighting
And if heritage is such a major consideration for doing nothing, consider just a few of the modifications and additions to the harbour bridge:
- lane changing signalling erected above the traffic
- walkways modified and installed beneath the carriageway for Bridgeclimb
- extended safety rails erected along pedestrian way
The catch-all heritage excuse will be of no comfort to the injured or to the families of those injured or killed should a serious accident eventually happen.
And heritage alone will be a poor defence for those that relied upon it as an excuse it to sit on their hands.
The Iron Cove Bridge at Drummoyne is around the same vintage as the Victoria Bridge. There, the state government is building a bridge immediately adjacent to it. Heritage did not prevent the government from proceeding where it has the political will to do so.
This lobby is not insensitive to the heritage value of the bridge; on the contrary it is supportive of taking into account the heritage value of the bridge at the same time as addressing the pressing need for a safe crossing to eliminate a clear and grave risk to users of the bridge.