It divided schoolfriends, gave the local milkman a very long delivery run, saw businesses close and a pub patron unable to collect his pokie win because there wasn't enough cash in the till to cover it.
It was even the inspiration for a play.
We're talking about the extended closure of Lawrence Hargrave Drive between Clifton and Coalcliff, in part due to the construction of the Sea Cliff Bridge.
READ MORE: We got the Sea Cliff Bridge - but what did we miss out on?
With the current shutdown of the same road at Stanwell Park, the closure in the early 2000s is often brought up. But, while the current two-month closure is hard for the Stanwell Park business community, it pales in comparison to the two-and-a-half years a section of the road was closed from mid-2003 to late 2005.
The closure stemmed from the same reason people are concerned about Instagrammers climbing the cliffs to take a selfie - the chronic instability of the area.
Rockfalls were a regular occurrence and would force the road closed. Heavy rains made things worse, so in late 2002 the then Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) brought in a policy that this stretch of road would close any time the rain gauges reached 35mm.
The road wouldn't reopen until 24 hours after the rain had stopped.
"In the face of the consultant's report which says 80 per cent of rockfalls occur shortly after rainfall, and if you close the road after 35mm of rain, you have a 40 per cent reduction in risk, it's very difficult for that sort of advice to be ignored," Roads Minister Carl Scully said at the time.
Still, it wasn't ideal - there were reports of school students not able to catch their bus home when the road was closed while they were in classes.
And it kept happening; between December and June the road was closed 10 times for a total of 36 days.
Boomgates had been set up at either end of the closure area - one driver managed to crash into them and tried to get the RTA to pay for his repairs.
Many residents ignored the gates - which blocked just half the road - and drove around them. One afternoon in April, a police car parked there after seeing so many cars running the road block.
"We've only been sitting here for 20 minutes and already we've turned around up to 30 cars," the officer said.
Some of those drivers were parents trying to handle school and daycare runs.
"Schools are busy enough places as it is and when the RTA calls and says it is shutting the road in an hour, either myself or the secretary has to drop everything to call all the parents," said Scarborough Public School principal and then Wollongong City councillor Dave Martin.
The last closure was the biggest. On July 4, 2003, the RTA closed the road. It was only for a month, they said.
But at the end of that month, the RTA dropped a bombshell - the road wold remain closed "until further notice". History would show that would end up being two-and-a-half years.
By this time the closures had already started to cause problems. Stanwell Park general store owner Wendy Lepre said in March she lost $2000 over one weekend.
"It's just devastating to every business and the area," she said. "It's like a ghost town, you just walk outside and everything is dead."
Robert Haywood had the milk run from Austinmer to Helensburgh and the closures saw his daily delivery run snowballed from 10 up to 14 hours, adding that he sometimes only got four hours of sleep before getting up to do it again.
Ironically, he had bought out the previous milk vendor after he went under in 1988 after a road closure.
The Clifton Hotel, located just 200-odd metres from the southern end of the closure and reliant on Sydney daytrippers, had been struggling for some time due to the regular closures.
The pub was losing around $1500 a week and, one night after the July closure took place, they took in just $16.
By late 2003 manager Cornelia Ignjatovic wasn't even bothering to open on weekdays, and on November 1, things were so bad she couldn't afford to pay a patron his $550 pokie win.
In December 2003, as she returned the hotel's linen to the hiring company, Ms Ignjatovic realised it was over and closed the doors.
"It's like the Titanic has sunk now," she said.
"The staff has all gone, my family is living separately, with the loss of income we have gone into debt and we all feel mentally traumatised by this."
Down the road Scarborough Pub was struggling too, though publican Jack Forbes managed to keep the doors open - though he would be hit hard just when there was light at the end of the tunnel.
The closure would even affect the Sydney to Gong Bike Ride which, for two years would end at Stanwell Park rather than Wollongong.
Stanwell Park Arts Theatre (aka SPAT) would see the lighter side of the Lawrence Hargrave Drive saga. They created and performed The Princess and the Lobster Potter - the Road to True Love, about two young lovers trying to reopen the only road into the Krapllewnats Kingdom.
Clever people will note that "Krapllewnats" is "Stanwell Park" backwards.
In January 2004, Mr Scully put forward four options to solve the problem of Lawrence Hargrave Drive and, in March announced the solution - a $47 million bridge over the water.
Residents and business owners were pleased, but got a minor fright two weeks later when the government announced a $100 million cut to the state road budget. Fortunately the bridge was exempt.
Construction would start later that year and interest in the bridge would be so great that bus tours to the site were organised - they proved so popular tickets sold out a week in advance and people had to be turned away.
In June 2005, the government launched a contest to name the bridge.
Names like Cliffhanger Bridge, South Coast Bridge, Paradise Bridge and Bridge Over Rubble Waters were thrown into the mix.
But the winner would be 11-year-old St Brigid's Primary School student Makenzie Russell.
"Lots of other people at my school were going to name it something to do with Lawrence Hargrave Drive," she said. "I wanted something different than theirs."
On Sunday, December 11, 2005 the bridge was opened by Makenzie and Premier Morris Iemma and 10,000 people - winners of a Mercury competition - were the first to walk across it.
The day wasn't a great one for Scarborough Pub's Jack Forbes. After trading through the closure, he was keenly awaiting the opening.
But only weeks before that date, he would be dealt a cruel blow. The pub was owned by WIN Corporation and they weren't going to renew his licence.
He had to be out by November 29 - just 12 days before the Sea Cliff Bridge would open again.
"I reckon it's bloody terrible, mate," said Les Bradbury, a pub regular for 45 years.
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