The Sea Cliff Bridge is the centrepiece that links the Northern Illawarra. Arguably our most famous landmark, the bridge has been photographed from every angle at every time of day, appears in just about every car ad and floods the social media feeds of just about every visitor to our region.
So who came up with the idea?
With the road under siege by falling rocks, in May 2003, Alan superimposed a picture of the then-new Woronora Bridge on the escarpment and sent it off to the ‘Powers That Be’.
With incredible foresight, Alan wrote ‘The Lawrence Hargrave Drive Bridge would certainly be expensive but imagine the tourist attraction this would be. To not only view the ocean but the magnificent cliffs as well.”
Alan’s suggestion saw the bridge begin at Coalcliff and head out over the water, only touching land again at Clifton.
Alan says loads of ideas were being thrown around at the time including a road over the top. “I knew a tunnel was out of the question because that hill is honeycombed. There’s the train tunnel and all the old mining tunnels, so I suggested a bridge.”
In 2003 he wrote ‘In the long term the bridge expense would be overridden by the cost of maintaining that stretch of coastal road.’
As talk of progress often does, Alan’s bold suggestion caused controversy within the local community.
“I had some serious threats made against me,” he says. “My plan came out and over the rocks which would have affected the Sooty Terns.
“When this bridge was built I asked the MP Paul McLeay why it didn’t leave the coast at Coalcliff. He said they saved $49 million by wrapping it around the cliffs at the northern end. They’ve probably spent that already on drainage works near the pine trees and there are still rocks falling onto the road!”
Passionate about the bridge, Alan filmed its construction and key stages in it’s progress. You can view that HERE
Alan says he also instigated the Helensburgh interchange, which has been instrumental in connecting the town to the city.
“In 1994 I called on the then-heathcote MP Ian McManus to build access ramps at Helensburgh. I spoke to the NRMA and drew up a plan for what I saw as a bridge to connect us to the M1.
“That road has been life-changing for locals,” he says. “The interchange opened just before my father passed away but he got to use it, and that makes me proud every time I drive that way!”
Now, instead of coming up with great transport ideas, Alan is a movie maker! His time-lapse of the trip from Revesby, through Wollongong to Dolphin Point, Burrill Lakes back in the 70s has been viewed more than 62,000 times!
Check out Alan’s movies HERE
Images:- Thanks to Alan Bond