3 March 2023

Survey says Wagga wants a new bridge ASAP

| Chris Roe
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Adam Drummond at Gobba Bridge

C4W chair Adam Drummond says the survey results overwhelmingly support a new bridge. Photo: Chris Roe.

The results are in and it seems that Waggaites are in agreement that the two-lane Gobbagombalin Bridge is not adequate for the needs of our growing city.

Committee 4 Wagga (C4W) has released the results of a 15-question online survey gauging public sentiment around traffic infrastructure along the Olympic Highway to the city’s northwest.

“The survey had over 1100 respondents and of that there is overwhelming support of the duplication of the Gobba Bridge,” said committee chair Adam Drummond.

“I think that this stands as testament to the existing Government, but also potential future governments, that this is something that we’re gonna need within 10 years.”

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

Built in 1997, the Gobbagombalin Bridge is the primary river crossing to the north and consists of two narrow lanes along a 1.2 km stretch of the Olympic Highway between Old Narrandera Road and Travers Street.

The NSW Government unveiled its roadmap for transport in Wagga in August last year and bowed to local pressure to include an agreement to “investigate” the need for a second bridge.

However, the amended plan described the duplication as a “very expensive” option and “not recommended in the short to medium term”.

READ ALSO Farmers protest HumeLink as party representatives back a parliamentary enquiry

Mr Drummond said developments on the northern side of the river, including the Special Activation Precinct and rail hub at Bomen and the thousands of new residential blocks opening up, should lead the Government to reconsider.

“This may not be a congestion issue at all times at the moment, but certainly the sentiment from this report is that at peak hours it is a real problem,” he explained.

“And certainly for emergency vehicles, it’s a real problem, especially during emergency times as we saw with the recent floods.

“In 10 years’ time, this is going to be a thing that has to have been planned for today.”

Survey results

Survey results. Photo: C4W.

It seems that the Wagga community agrees with 96 per cent of respondents declaring that the existing two-lane bridge was not adequate.

When asked, “Where do you consider to be the best point to cross the river?”, 83 per cent voted in favour of a duplication of the Gobba Bridge.

“This is our (C4W’s) number one priority when we push towards this state election to get some sort of commitment from the candidates that a feasibility study should be done and that we should have a duplication within 10 years,” said Mr Drummond.

Survey results

Survey results. Photo: C4W.

When asked if anything surprised him in the results, Mr Drummond pointed to a question on whether the money could be better spent elsewhere.

“Very few people have priorities over this Gobba Bridge,” he said, confirming that 85 per cent of respondents backed duplication.

“So if that doesn’t indicate what the community wants, I don’t know what does.”

Survey results

Survey results. Photo: C4W.

Among other results, respondents were divided over Transport for NSW’s plan to install traffic lights on either end of the bridge at the intersections at Old Narrandera Road and Travers Street.

However 81 per cent were in favour of grade separations (taking turning traffic under the highway) rather than lights.

Member for Wagga Dr Joe McGirr welcomed the survey results and said he had discussed the bridge with regional transport minister Sam Farraway.

“We have got a plan to do the study that’s being asked for. We need to make sure that happens so that we’re ready to get this done in the next 10 years,” Dr McGirr said.

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