Skateboarders illegally accessing Sea Cliff Bridge could be putting the safety of other children at risk, authorities say.
Video footage has been posted online showing several skaters wearing facemasks riding skateboards in a maintenance tunnel underneath the road surface of the bridge.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) southern region manager Brad Turner said initial efforts to restrict access, including a welded steel plate and a concrete plinth, had done little to stop the skaters.
Mr Turner said they appeared to have used acetylene torches, power tools and crowbars to gain access.
He said RMS had spent about $50,000 in repairs and measures to restrict access in the wake of the skaters.
While RMS didn’t like having the skaters inside the bridge, Mr Turner said he was more worried about the possibility of children finding the vandalised access point and becoming trapped inside after the skaters had left.
‘‘What happens if kids go in there afterwards?
‘‘It’s very reasonable that parents come to us and say, ‘We shouldn’t have to worry about our kids being in that kind of danger’.
‘‘If a couple of kids go down there and something happens to one of them, do the other kids panic and go, ‘We shouldn’t be down here’, and shoot through?’’
Mr Turner said building more skate parks would not necessarily stop skaters going to places like the bridge because the behaviour was driven by ‘‘the thrill of being somewhere you shouldn’t be’’.
It certainly wasn’t the excitement of the ride inside the Sea Cliff Bridge, which Mr Turner described as ‘‘vanilla’’.
‘‘The Sea Cliff Bridge is pretty much flat,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s very placid, it’s not the best facility.’’
Keira MP Ryan Park expressed similar safety concerns about skateboard riding in the old Fairy Meadow indoor cricket centre, a place he said recently had ‘‘a small amount’’ of asbestos removed.
‘‘That is definitely not a place that young people should be skating in,’’ he said.
‘‘There is broken glass, there is all manner of rubbish and debris in the area, there’s pieces of metal dangling down.
‘‘It’s a very dangerous area. It shouldn’t be there and it shouldn’t be a place where people go and skate.’’
Mr Park suggested that building more skate parks could reduce the need for people to visit these places.
Mr Park said: ‘‘I’ve certainly raised with council the need to see some more of these purpose-built facilities out in the northern suburbs.
‘‘What we don’t want to see is people going to areas like the derelict site at Fairy Meadow, having an accident and hurting themselves [while] in a place they shouldn’t be and in a place where it’s too dangerous to go.’’
with ABC Illawarra