Calls are increasing for the suspension of work on a controversial bridge across Sydney's Anzac Parade, with detractors calling the project an overpriced white elephant.
The $25 million dollar Tibber Cotter Walkway has been touted by the NSW government as a shared-use bridge which they say will provide a far more convenient means for both pedestrian and cyclists to cross the Anzac Parade road in Sydney’s southeast.
The opposition Labor Party and civic groups are calling for the suspension of work on the bridge, however, on the grounds of poor design and insufficient community consultation.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has given harsh censure to the bridge, stating that she shares the community’s “outrage” over the project and its potential impact on Moore Park.
Critics of the bridge design produced by Sydney’s Roads and Maritime Services have called it oversized, overpriced and needlessly convoluted.
They claim the bridge will obscure adjacent parkland and will fail to provide heightened safety or convenience to users, as the design does not provide for a direct connection to the existing Anzac Parade shared path.
Cycling groups – whose interests the bridge is supposed to serve, have been unanimous in their opposition to the design, pointing out that bike riders will still have to cross a busy bus road in order to access the bike path on Anzac Parade itself.
The project’s exorbitant cost has also come under fire, with the $25 million price tag exceeding what the NSW government spends on cycling throughout the entire state in a year.
Shadow roads minister Walt Secord said the Tibber Cotter Walkway comes at a particularly inopportune moment for New South Wales, given the state government’s current austerity drive, as well as similar charges of poor planning levied against the $24 million Nepean River Green Bridge.
“In light of the savage cuts that the Liberals and Nationals are making to health and education, it is hard to justify spending almost $50 million on two poorly planned pedestrian bridges in Sydney – without having had proper community consultation,” Secord said.
The project is not without its advocates, however. The Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust has given its support to the construction of the bridge, as it will provide spectators attending matches at the SCG or Allianz Stadium with improved access to car parking on the western side of Moore Park.