2 February 2023

Are traffic lights enough to fix the problems with Gobba Bridge?

| Chris Roe
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Men on a bridge

C4W CEO Scott Sanbrook and Chairman Adam Drummond at the Gobbagombalin Bridge. Photo: Chris Roe.

The Committee 4 Wagga (C4W) is calling on locals to have their say on one of Wagga’s biggest infrastructure issues, the Gobbagombalin Bridge.

“Committee 4 Wagga is putting out a community survey to see what the community thinks about the potential duplication of the Gobba Bridge,” explained Chairman Adam Drummond.

“I think that one of the things that makes people move from metropolitan and coastal areas to Wagga Wagga and other regional locations is that we have got fantastic livability and part of livability is traffic flow.

“The fact that you don’t have to sit in gridlocked traffic for half an hour or 60 minutes is one of the things that makes us a great country town/city.”

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The 15-question survey went live on Thursday (22 Dec) and the C4W plans to present the results to those making the decisions on the city’s future transport plans.

Mr Drummond said that they are also questioning some of the short-term solutions proposed by Transport for NSW.

“One of those things that they’re proposing is traffic lights at both the Old Narrandera Road, which is obviously an unsafe place to turn right as we’ve all experienced, but also down here on Travers and Moorong Streets,” he said.

“Our feeling is that that might not be the best move.”

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He explained that a grade separated interchange, allowing northbound traffic to exit onto Travers Street by veering left and crossing underneath the Olympic Highway, could be a better long-term investment.

“Things change over the years that these decisions are made, and certainly the northern suburbs have grown exponentially since the decision was made to put in traffic lights,” Mr Drummond said.

“The other thing that we’re really worried about is, if you put in traffic lights does that mean that we won’t get the duplication of the Gobba Bridge in five to 10 years’ time when we need it?”

The Gobba Bridge was built in 1997 as the primary river crossing to the city’s northwest and consists of two narrow lanes along a 1.2 km stretch of the Olympic Highway between Old Narrandera Road and Travers Street.


An artist’s impression of the revamped Old Narrandera Road intersection. Photo: Transport for NSW.

As the northern suburbs expanded, Transport for NSW examined solutions for the two problematic intersections with a Preferred Options Report and a subsequent review that concluded that a set of lights at each end was the best way forward.

At the time of the review in 2020 it was determined that a grade separated interchange would not be a safe option for Old Narrandera Road due to its location between the Boorooma Street overpass and the bridge.

The report concluded that the Travers Street intersection “was safer than the Old Narrandera Road intersection, and the community’s preferred treatment was to retain the existing roundabout. The feedback also indicated that traffic flow along the Olympic Highway was only a concern during peak morning and afternoon times”.

It was acknowledged that southbound traffic slowing on the bridge to turn left onto Travers Street was an issue and it was decided that they would remove the roundabout, relocate the intersection slightly further to the south and install traffic lights.


An artist’s impression of the Travers Street intersection with Gobbagombalin Bridge to the north and Moorong Street to the west. Photo: Transport for NSW.

“The issue we think with putting traffic lights in is it will most likely congest other roads and streets that are leading into Moorong and Travers as well and we don’t think that’s going to solve anything,” said Mr Drummond.

The State Government unveiled its roadmap for transport in Wagga in August and included an agreement to “investigate” the need for a second bridge but described the duplication as a “very expensive” option and “not recommended in the short to medium term”.

Mr Drummond said that recent flooding and traffic gridlock on the Olympic Highway highlighted the seriousness of the issue and said it was shortsighted of the Government to ignore the growing need.

“If we’re going to put hundreds of millions of dollars into the SAP (Special Activation Precinct) and the Bomen industrial development, then it would make sense that we have to have a parallel plan when it comes to things like infrastructure for housing, and infrastructure for traffic flow,” he said.

“Particularly considering that within 20 years there’s going to be potentially 6000 new jobs out there just in the Bomen industrial estate alone.”

The Gobbagombalin Bridge: Have your say survey is now live on the Committee 4 Wagga website and you can have your say here.

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