From the Sydney Morning Herald, 20th June 2009:

THE historic Glebe Island Bridge is under threat, with the Roads and Traffic Authority believed to be considering a proposal to demolish it to save on maintenance costs, says the Glebe Society.

The society, while acknowledging that the fate of the bridge has been subject to a number of rumours over the years, is concerned at the latest information. "About 10 days ago we had a very credible, detailed account which said the RTA has conducted a review of the Glebe Island Bridge," said the society’s president, Lesley Lynch.

She said three options were canvassed: partly restore, partly dismantle or demolish. The society was told the review had recommended demolition "because there was no money in the budget to maintain it", Dr Lynch said. Demolition would also allow access for larger vessels to Blackwattle and Rozelle bays.

The society has written to the Premier, the ministers for ports and planning and the RTA and has received either generic letters or non-committal responses.  "We’re prepared to really fight on this matter," Dr Lynch said. "To knock over something like that you have to have very good reasons and it’s got to be better than ‘we want bigger and wider boats coming through’ or ‘we’re a bit short of cash at the moment’."

An RTA spokesman issued a short statement yesterday, saying only that the future of the bridge was being discussed between the relevant government departments and that no decision had been made. He did not respond to a Herald question about community consultation on the matter.

The bridge is a rare example of an electrically operated swing bridge. It was built in 1903 and operated until 1995. It is also listed on the Register of the National Estate. The RTA website says "the bridge has high historical significance because it was one of the earliest uses of electrical power for this type of bridge in the world".