Wagga City Council is getting to work and propping up the deteriorating Edmondson Street Bridge as it awaits promised funding from the NSW Government.
Director of infrastructure services Warren Faulkner said night-time works would be carried out from 6 pm on Tuesday (10 October) to 6 am on Wednesday “to maintain the stability of the approach and departure lanes on the northbound side of the bridge”.
“The work is designed to minimise ingress of water into the pavement and ensure a smooth ride over the bridge for vehicles,” he said.
Motorists have become increasingly nervous as the footpath and retaining wall on the north-eastern side continue to slip, and last month Councillor Richard Foley asked for assurances that the bridge was safe.
“Is there a current engineer’s report for Edmondson Street Bridge?” he asked.
“If the bridge were to fail, who holds liability if anyone’s injured or killed?”
The footpath and one lane have been closed since November last year after the retaining wall slipped and the pavement began to buckle and slump.
At the time, Mr Faulkner explained that “the retaining wall failed due to age” and that the council was “working on an interim solution to reinstate the retaining wall that supports the footpath and road pavement”.
Ahead of the March state election, Labor pledged $100,000 to support the Edmondson Street Bridge repair and last month Regional Transport and Roads Minister Jenny Aitchison told Region that the money would be allocated after the State Budget on 19 September.
“Council has submitted an application for $100,000 from the NSW Government under its Local Small Commitments Allocation for repairs to the southbound lanes of the Edmondson Street Bridge,” Mr Faulkner said.
“If successful, the funding will be used to undertake interim repairs to the southbound approach to the bridge to shore up the inner southbound lane of the two-lane carriageway, and potentially reinstate the outer southbound lane for traffic use.
“As yet, there is no timeframe for these interim repairs to commence.”
The situation is complicated by the fact the council-owned bridge is due to be completely replaced when the controversial Inland Rail project rolls through town.
Following cost blowouts and concerns about a lack of oversight and accountability, the multi-billion-dollar mega-project is under a cloud while a Federal Government review is undertaken.
However, there is a commitment to continuing parts of the project, including the line through Wagga, which is scheduled to be completed by 2027.
“The night works and interim repairs to the Edmondson Street Bridge are only intended to be temporary in nature as the road-over-rail bridge and approaches are required to be raised to allow double-stacked trains to pass under the bridge as part of the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) Inland Rail project,” Mr Faulkner said.