Support is crumbling for a $25 million bridge across Anzac Parade near Sydney Cricket Ground, with transport lobby groups and the City of Sydney calling for an urgent halt to construction.
The government is attempting to get the bridge built in time for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, and this week said building work had started on the project. But plans for the bridge continue to draw the ire of locals and people who might be expected to use it, and key backers the government had been relying on are pulling away.
One of the main complaints about the bridge is that it is not being built where people want to walk. The majority of people who walk between Central Station and the SCG cross Anzac Parade at Fitzroy Street, one block away from where the bridge is planned.
Roads and Maritime Services says it will use signs to direct pedestrians to the bridge.
Another complaint about the bridge, to be named after former Test cricketer Albert ''Tibby'' Cotter, is that it will not connect to the cycleway on Anzac Parade.
In promoting the bridge plan in April, Roads and Maritime Services said: ''Bicycle NSW and the City of Sydney have been consulted and are supportive of the plan.''
Both organisations want construction suspended.
''It needs further review,'' said Sophie Bartho, communications director at Bicycle NSW. ''The fact that the bridge and the existing cycle path are not directly connected is a major concern.''
Lord mayor Clover Moore has written to the government requesting it call a halt to work on the bridge, which risked becoming ''an expensive white elephant''.
''I was shocked to find Roads and Maritime Services approved the proposed bridge on May 14 with two minor design changes,'' Cr Moore said. ''Just days later early work has begun, blocking off a large section of parkland.''
On Monday Roads Minister Duncan Gay, Sports Minister Stuart Ayres and chairman of the SCG Trust Tony Shepherd announced the start of work on the project. The SCG Trust partly supports the project so it can use the western side of Moore Park for car parking. The bridge would allow people who have parked on Moore Park to cross easily to the SCG.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Gay said ''everyone likes'' the bridge. ''It has a good name, it is a great design and it is in the right place.''
The bridge is also opposed by the Paddington Society, Action for Public Transport, the Centennial Park Residents Association and BikeSydney.
A spokeswoman for Mr Gay said the government had already signed contracts for early building works on the project.