THE iconic Sale Swing Bridge has been damaged by vandals.
Operators attempted to open the bridge on Sunday, and when it failed to open, they found a plank of wood shoved into the gears.
The wood had reportedly been ripped off the walking platform under the bridge.
Wellington Shire mayor Darren McCubbin said it was believed the offender or offenders had climbed over the railings to reach the underneath platform.
He said hydraulic specialists had assessed the bridge, but said it would remain closed until a test opening could be conducted and the extent of the damage determined.
Cr McCubbin said there may be damage to the gears and an indentation in the metal structure.
“It’s a terrible act of vandalism that’s going to cost us thousands to repair,” he said.
“This is a very old bridge and replacement parts will need to be precast.”
The bridge was built between 1880 to 1883 and was designed to swing open to allow boats to enter and exit the Port of Sale.
Cr McCubbin said it was an important part of infrastructure and a well loved icon of the region.
“It’s one of the only swing bridges in the Southern Hemisphere and that’s something we’re very proud of,” he said.
Cr McCubbin said larger boats would be unable to use the route until the damage was repaired.
During the past few months, vandals have also tagged the bridge with graffiti and damaged Aboriginal artwork.
People with information are urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.