In 2013, the City of Sydney installed a rainbow crossing across Oxford Street at Taylor Square, on the border of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills, just in time for the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. It was an instant success – social media feeds were flooded with colourful images of people crossing the street.

But without warning then-roads minister Duncan Gay controversially ordered the installation to be removed overnight, and it was replaced with asphalt. Gay said the decision was made to protect pedestrians stopping in the middle of the road to pose for photos.

Not everyone was happy about its removal.

Today, Lord Mayor Clover Moore has confirmed the rainbow crossing will be reinstalled in January next year, with a place-holder art installation, to be unveiled on Sunday, for the anniversary of Mardi Gras. Matthew Aberline and Maurice Goldberg’s 360-degree work 40 Years of Love will be nine metres tall.

“Our beautiful Oxford Street crossing became a global sensation in 2013 and it was devastating when it was removed with no warning in the middle of the night,” said Moore in an official statement.

“The news that it will be reinstated is incredibly significant on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on June 24 and a powerful acknowledgement of the importance of our LGBTQI community and history.”

The new rainbow crossing, proposed for Campbell and Bourke streets, Surry Hills, will also serve as a trial for new sensors, which will give pedestrians as much time as possible to cross the road.