Investigation work is about to begin on Marshalls Creek Bridge as Transport for NSW starts planning for its replacement.
Motorists are warned to expect changed traffic conditions on the Sturt Highway (Hammond Avenue) over the next week as investigations are carried out to locate underground utilities on either side of the bridge.
Work will occur between 7 am and 5 pm from Sunday 10 to Tuesday 12 December, weather permitting.
Road shoulder closures, reduced speed limits of 40 km/h, and traffic control will be in place to guide road users during work hours and pedestrian access will be maintained during the work.
The NSW Government announced in July that the widening of Marshalls Creek Bridge would take priority over Olympic Highway upgrades on either side of the Gobbagombalin Bridge.
The proposed addition of traffic lights on either side of the bridge was met with community backlash and the new State Government responded by shelving the plans and agreeing to the four-lane extension of Marshalls Creek.
The bridge is a choke point on the Sturt Highway as four lanes are reduced to two over several hundred metres, creating congestion on Wagga’s busiest road.
In making the announcement earlier this year, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said community groups had made their position clear.
“We want the people of Wagga Wagga to know that we have listened to you and we are putting the priority into writing,” Ms Aitchison said.
“We want to make sure that the work we do is in the best community interest. We have been working with council and community groups like Committee 4 Wagga and the Wagga Residents and Ratepayers Association to make sure we are making the right approaches and the right infrastructure.”
Plans for the Olympic Highway have been postponed indefinitely and the minister explained that rising construction costs had made it unfeasible to complete both projects in the short term.
“Back in 2018, we had a commitment of $30 million to spend on both the Marshalls Creek Bridge and the installation of two intersections on the Gobba Bridge,” she said.
“In those five years, these costs have escalated massively and there is no capacity for those two bridges to be completed on that budget.”
She also remained wary of making any commitment to the long-requested Gobba Bridge duplication, saying that the project would be an expensive one that needed extensive planning that could take 10 to 15 years.
While the planning for the Marshalls Creek Bridge replacement has begun, work is not expected to begin for another 18 months.