14 July 2023

A real win for the community: Dr McGirr and Committee 4 Wagga applaud NSW Government's bridge decision

| Jarryd Rowley
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Several Wagga community representatives including Committee 4 Wagga’s chair Adam Drummond were invited by MP Dr Joe McGirr to meet with NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison before her announcement on Tuesday 11 July. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Members of the Wagga Wagga community have voiced their approval of the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison’s decision to reprioritise the upgrade works of the Gobbagombalin and Marshalls Creek Bridges.

Since Ms Aitchison’s announcement about plans for potential traffic lights on either side of the Gobbagombalin Bridge being a primary focus for the NSW Government, several local advocacy groups including Committee 4 Wagga and the Wagga Residents and Ratepayers Association put the decision on notice.

Just 24 hours prior to the Minister’s decision of Tuesday 11 July to reprioritise the Marshalls Creek Bridge upgrade, which will include widening the existing two lanes to four, Ms Aitchison was greeted by members of Committee 4 Wagga, Wagga City Council and state MP Dr Joe McGirr to demonstrate the importance of changing her decision.

READ ALSO ‘It’s just a commonsense move’: Marshalls Creek widening given priority over Gobba intersections and duplication

“Committee 4 Wagga was honoured to be asked to the table by Dr Joe to discuss the bridge issues with Minister Aitchison,” Committee 4 Wagga chair Mr Drummond said.

“The point Committee 4 Wagga wanted to drive home was that the proposed duplication of the Gobba Bridge should not be seen as a localised issue. If there is a freight delay as a result of the bridge, the consequences are felt all around the state.

“Committee 4 Wagga also acknowledges and appreciates the Minister’s focus on the Marshalls Creek Bridge widening, which has been on the agenda for at least eight years now.”

The meeting with Wagga representatives included a bus tour in which Ms Aitchison was taken to both bridge locations to better understand the reasoning behind the proposed upgrades.

“Minister Aitchison had the chance to see firsthand the activity on Marshalls Creek Bridge and the associated traffic risks, with cars rushing to access the single lane on the approach to the crossing,” Mr Drummond said.

“A couple of ‘near misses’ during the 15-minute stop really highlighted the need for the upgrade.”

Following the visit to both locations, Ms Aitchison announced an indefinite pause to the proposed plans for the Gobbagombalin Bridge and the Olympic Highway, while also announcing an 18-month to two-year timeframe for the official works to begin at Marshalls Creek.

“Committee 4 Wagga saw this (Gobba Bridge works) as a Band-Aid approach for a much larger problem over the next 10 to 15 years,” Mr Drummond said.

“This takes into consideration the growth in the northern suburbs from both a residential and industrial perspective.

READ ALSO Minister puts Wagga’s public transport on notice over lack of cashless payment option

“With recent interest in the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics hub (RiFL) subdivision lots for sale and the strong appeal of the Special Activation Precinct itself, large organisations are scoping Wagga as a place to call home due to its logistical links with the rest of the world.

“It makes sense to us that the traffic lights are scrapped and the focus is put solely on developing a business case for the duplication of the Gobba Bridge.”

Dr McGirr said he too was heartened by the Minister’s announcement, calling it a real win for the community.

“The upgrades to Marshalls Creek Bridge will improve safety for all road users and ease congestion on the highway through Wagga Wagga, with construction to begin within the next 18 months.

“The widened bridge will provide both a dedicated footpath and shared path over Marshalls Creek to improve connectivity and safety for pedestrians and cyclists across the city of Wagga Wagga.

“I thank the Minister for taking the time to meet with Wagga Wagga City councillors and staff, as well as touring the relevant roads with representatives of Committee 4 Wagga and the Wagga Residents and Ratepayers Association.”

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