11 November 2022

Wagga residents call for action as the Gobba Bridge 'funnel' creates traffic chaos

| Chris Roe
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Woman and bridge

Trudie wants you to sign her petition. Photo: Supplied.

Like many Wagga residents on the northern side of the Gobbagombalin Bridge, Trudie Wales says the recent floods have proved beyond doubt that a second bridge is essential.

“I don’t know what they expect us to do, we’ve got to get into town somehow,” she said with a sigh.

“We’re stuck on that side of town with no petrol, no food, no access to any of the medical services or anything like that unless we sit in line for up to two hours. So it’s just beyond a joke now.”

The Estella resident has taken matters into her own hands and launched a petition to “Duplicate Gobbagombalin Bridge Wagga Wagga” on change.org.

“With extensive flooding in the Wagga Wagga area, traffic over the bridge has been of epic proportions,” reads the petition as Trudie outlines the extended delays and restricted access for emergency vehicles.

“Our health and livelihoods are being ignored, purely because the Government don’t want to spend the money to duplicate the bridge.

“Will it take someone to die while lined up in traffic to get into town before something is done?”

READ ALSO As flooding continues, it’s time to talk about the Gobba Bridge traffic

The petition is close to its modest target of 500 signatures and Trudie hopes it will continue to grow and increase government attention on the issue ahead of next year’s state election.

Premier Dominic Perrottet visited Wagga on the weekend and got a bird’s-eye view of the problem.

“The Premier has seen that now and Joe McGirr was on the telly and he said they have all but said yes to the duplicate,” she said.

Wagga’s independent MP is a strong advocate for a second bridge and reiterated his concerns in parliament this week with a notice of motion that it “acknowledges that Wagga is the largest inland city in New South Wales and has targeted a population of 100,000 by 2030, with significant development north of the Murrumbidgee River.”

In light of which, he will move that parliament “notes the great disruption caused by recent flooding that cut off all but the Gobbagombalin Bridge’s river crossing.”

Dr McGirr will call on the Government “to fast-track consideration of an alternative river crossing, particularly the duplication of the Gobbagombalin Bridge”.


Traffic backed up along the Olympic Highway as Gobbagombalin Bridge provided the only crossing from the north. Photo: Supplied.

While the State Government has already indicated that it does not intend to accelerate its commitment to “investigate” the need for a second bridge, Wagga City Council’s Director Infrastructure Services Warren Faulkner said it remained a priority for them.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve got to wait for these sorts of events to show the issues at the ‘funnel’,” he said.

“It’s not just for flood resilience but also just for accidents on the network that close roads such as Eunony Bridge, so it remains part of council’s advocacy plan.”

READ ALSO ‘The reality of it is, we were directly responsible’: How a tragic accident changed the way Wagga Motors does business

Adam Drummond from the Committee 4 Wagga said they would also be making the case ahead of the state election and were compiling a report to present to council, Dr Joe and the relevant agencies.

“The floods are one thing and it shows just how bad it can get in emergency situations,” he explained.

“However, that’s not the reason that the city is crying out for a duplication of the bridge. It’s because we’re a growing population and we need access to the northern side of the Murrumbidgee urgently.

“Particularly when you consider the growth out at the Special Activation Precinct and the number of vehicles that will be commuting on a daily basis as that area grows.”

Trudie remembers when the bridge was built in 1997 and said the government missed an opportunity to get it right from the start.

“It should have been a duplicated bridge right from the start, but of course, they did it on the cheap as usual, as all government transport things seem to be,” she said.

“Even getting the Premier to say ‘yes’, you would have to take with a grain of salt, but we need to act now and help Dr Joe, who I know is pushing as hard as he can, to get it done.

“We all need to get behind him or whoever’s in power after the election and try and push it through.”

You can sign Trudie’s petition here.

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