A man has been charged with climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in an incident which sparked a major police operation and caused hours of traffic gridlock when multiple lanes of the bridge were closed last week.
Police rescue crews took nearly six hours to get Wayne John Cook, 43, down from the south-western arch last Wednesday.
This afternoon Mr Cook was charged with trespass, climbing the bridge, preventing the free passage of vehicles, and assaulting police.
The Woolloomoolloo man applied for bail in Sydney’s Central Local Court this afternoon but it was refused.
He will return to court on April 11.
Wayne Cook is facing four charges over the incident, including trespass and assaulting police. (ABC News)
Calls for tougher fines
Following the incident, the State Government vowed to introduce tougher fines than the current $3,000 penalty for illegally climbing the bridge.
NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said people who climbed the fence at the SCG or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge received fines of $5,500 and $10,000 respectively.
Multiple northbound and southbound lanes of the bridge were closed during the police operation, causing the morning commute for many to grind to a halt.
The lane closures caused a knock-on effect with traffic on the Anzac Bridge coming to a standstill and Victoria Road backing up for more than 10 kilometres.
All lanes on the bridge opened just after 10:00am, but traffic congestion around the Sydney CBD remained heavy until the late morning.
Police said at the time that Mr Cook was suffering from “significant mental health issues” and his motive had been “based on a family issue”.
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