The wooden footbridge at the harbour end of Clarence St is a 90-year-old reminder of a gentler time. It’s a historic structure that links North Harbour St and Wellings Reserve and it’s part of the Manly to Spit Bridge Scenic Walkway, which attracts almost 200,000 people a year.
But it's future is hanging by a thread.
Manly Council closed the footbridge in December after it was found to be structurally unsound. Scaffolding has been put up, but no repair work has been done.
Locals are furious, saying the bridge has had no maintenance work done on it for years, despite them repeatedly asking the council to act.
Now the bridge is closed "indefinitely" while the Council looks at funding options to repair, or entirely replace it.
While Council GM Henry Wong has proposed replacing the bridge with a steel structure, residents say that's not the right fit for the pretty bushland spot.
Manly Councillors overwhelmingly agree. When the bridge was discussed at this week's Council meeting, councillors asked Mr Wong to investigate using timber for the replacement work. We'll keep you posted.
Treasurer Mike Baird, our local member, has come through with some solid funding for projects relevant to the Northern Beaches in the State budget released yesterday. These include:
I attended RTA public meeting on Thursday to view the proposed pedestrian footbridge to be erected at The Spit for $3.5m. Of the Manly residents present, none of us had been aware of this proposal previously and were totally against it. The majority of the others from Mosman were also totally against the idea.
Based on RTA data, removal of the pedestrian crossing would save 32 seconds per traffic light cycle of 180 sec, if the average 90 pedestrians who
used it during peak hour (6am-10am M-F) went over the proposed footbridge instead of using the crossing.
Let's be clear here. They are talking about removing the pedestrian crossing completely and providing a footbridge OVER the road as the only safe means of crossing the road. (The structure will have a lift for those with prams or disabilities and of course cyclist are also expected to use it.) Get the details full details here.
This area is the 'gateway' to Manly and the Northern Beaches and yet it is to have one of our most beautiful, natural entrances blocked by a structure that anyone with common sense will soon ascertain will not be used. During peak times, the traffic is hardly moving anyway to why not just duck between the cars? And as for the weekends - yikes, it's an accident just waiting to happen. Please take a moment to look at the bulk of this footbridge. While I give 10/10 to the bridge designers who have done their best to try to 'blend' it with the natural surroundings, can't we please review this decision now that we have a new State Government and see if it really is such a good idea after all?
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Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor & Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.