A man who climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge has been safely taken into police custody, with roads through central Sydney slowly returning to normal after the police operation caused traffic mayhem during the morning rush.
New South Wales Police successfully managed to bring the man down around 9.30am after a stand-off that lasted nearly five hours.
NSW Ambulance said the man was in his 30s and had been taken to St Vincent’s Hospital in a stable condition.
All lanes on the bridge reopened just after 10am, and traffic remained badly congested around the Sydney CBD until the late morning.
Road Minister Melinda Pavey said the man was known to the police.
“Please avoid coming in [to the city] if you can,” Ms Pavey said earlier.
Sydney Harbour Bridge: A man has illegally climbed the southern arch of the bridge. Some lanes closed in both directions due to the police operation. Lengthy traffic jams both sides of the bridge. Live updates on @sunriseon7. https://t.co/jKxA4LcbjG #SydneyHarbourBridge #7News pic.twitter.com/evMrLI0p36
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) April 3, 2018
Multiple northbound and southbound lanes of the bridge were closed during the hours-long police operation.
Traffic was crawling on the city’s major road arteries during police negotiations with the man, with the road chaos easing around 11:00am.
Live Traffic NSW reported that traffic had been banked up for southbound commuters all the way to North Ryde — 20 kilometres north-west of the city on the M2 — during the rush hours.
A knock-on from the Harbour Bridge closures also affected the Anzac Bridge, causing the arterial Victoria Road to be backed up for more than 10 kilometres leading into the smaller bridge.
The City-West Link had traffic issues all the way to Haberfield and the Eastern Distributor was experiencing some delays.
Commuter Zack Jackson said he had been stuck in the gridlock all morning.
“I’ve been waiting three hours, I’ve lost half my day’s work,” he said.
“If I could, I’d do a U-turn and go home but I can’t. I’ve got customers ringing me up and busting me — it’s very frustrating.”
‘We can’t wrap bridge in barbed wire’
Trains were not affected by the operation.
Buses were delayed by up to 70 minutes, and several buses were stopping their trips at train stations on the north shore to allow passengers to catch the train.
The Roads Minister said it was difficult to stop people from accessing the bridge.
“Unless you are prepared to wrap the whole bridge in barbed wire, then there is a chance that something like this might happen,” Ms Pavey said.
Ms Pavey said she empathised with commuters.
“It’s not an easy day — it’s not a good day for the Sydney commuter,” she said.
If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14