12 October 2022

Closed roads, pumps and potholes are keeping Wagga Council busy preparing for a big river

| Chris Roe
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Wagga City Council’s Warren Faulkner says staff are prepared for the rising river. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wagga Wagga City Council has advised commuters from the northern suburbs to expect delays as the water rises over the next 24 hours.

“Parts of Boorooma Street below the Olympic Highway to Gardiner Street could be covered as the water backflows out of the Gobbagombalin Lagoon,” explained WWCC director of infrastructure services Warren Faulkner, referring to the floodplains to the east off the Olympic Highway near the Gobbagombalin Bridge.

“So I think the planning for tomorrow needs to be on the Gobba Bridge and the Olympic Highway and probably allow yourself some extra travel around that time to get backwards and forwards across.”

Mr Faulkner warned that other low-lying roads would need to be closed for safety overnight and said it was important to adhere to the warnings.

“We ask that you obey those road rules and the road closures,” he said.

“You don’t want to put people’s lives at risk, that’s why we do this sort of stuff.

“Driving on roads closed, if anything does happen, you affect your own insurance and liability, so do the right thing, plan the trip and prepare for these road closures.”

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With heavy rain predicted for later in the week, Mr Faulkner said the council was prepared to deal with any additional water behind the levee.

“We do have pumping measures behind the levee and as long as that rain falls steadily, we don’t expect too many dramas,” he said.

While parts of North Wagga in particular could become isolated, Mr Faulkner said the robust sewerage and water systems were expected to hold up.

“We’re not expecting any problems with the sewerage and I think it’s probably the same with the water.”


Without dry conditions, a quick fix is sometimes all that can be done to keep the roads open. Photo: Chris Roe.

Looking ahead, Wagga City Council is hoping for some dry weather to begin reparing the shire’s potholed roads.

“There’s too much moisture in the ground and not enough heat to draw that out, and that’s prolonging the damage to our roads,” Mr Faulkner explained while acknowledging the forecast for another wet summer.

“Hopefully we get past this La Nina event – the third one in a row – and start getting some warm weather to dry the roads out and then letting us undertake some repair and commence our capital works program for improvements.”

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But he acknowledged that some problem areas such as Old Narrandera Road could require a temporary fix and a “sacrificial seal” to keep them together before a proper overhaul can be completed.

“We realise we’re filling potholes with water in them and we do that to provide a safe road surface and yes, whilst it’s bumpy and things, it’s about road safety and we understand that they don’t last and we’re not expecting them to last in this sort of environment.”

Mr Faulkner said council staff had been on standby and would begin levee inspections as the river neared its peak.

For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500.

In life-threatening situations, call triple zero (000) immediately.

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