If the community doesn’t make it clear to the RMS and Shoalhaven City Council now that they don’t want the iconic bridge dismantled, you won’t have to imagine it because it will be gone.
That was the message Shoalhaven Historical Society president Lynne Allen wants Shoalhaven residents to understand.
“The big danger to the bridge right now is people being complacent,” she said.
“People might think the bridge won’t be dismantled until after the new bridge is built and that’s all years into the future.
“But the planning for the future of both bridges is starting to happen now and this community needs to make it clear we don’t want to lose the bridge.
“We can’t leave this in council’s hands. It belongs to the community.
“This community needs to get motivated and email or write to the RMS, and council to tell them you don’t want the bridge dismantled. Just a few lines is all it takes and it can make a difference.
“If we say nothing there is a real risk of losing it.”
Ideas have been raised to use the old bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, special events, festivals, exhibitions and markets.
Mrs Allen said she agreed with Mayor Joanna Gash that the bridge should stay, but council should not have to fund the bridge’s long-term upkeep.
She hoped the cost of dismantling the bridge and disposing of the steel could be spent instead on the cost of its upkeep.
“If the bridge doesn’t have to take the same weight of traffic it does now surely the maintenance costs will be much less,” she said.
“The bridge would make a wonderful tourist attraction and we could link Ben’s Walk with the Grotto, it could also be a better cycle crossing than what we have now.
“It could also be used as another crossing over the river for emergency vehicles.”
The Shoalhaven Historical Society is preparing a submission for the RMS and council in favour of keeping the bridge.
Mrs Allen believed in the long term the bridge would be kept.
“I think the people would be mobilised when they realise it could be dismantled,” she said.