A new $9.8 million crossing across the Murrumbidgee River will be built east of Wagga to replace the dilapidated Eunony Bridge.
The existing bridge, built in the 1970s, is unable to accommodate vehicles weighing more than 62.5 tonnes – a limitation that has infuriated and frustrated the city’s trucking operators for a number of years and forced Bomen-bound heavy vehicles to instead travel through the Wagga CBD.
A replacement Eunony Bridge, likely to be built adjacent to the present crossing, will be able to accommodate heavier vehicles and feature wider lanes that will improve safety for cars and trucks using it.
It is unknown at this stage when the replacement bridge will be completed, though Wagga mayor Rod Kendall said council would move to go to tender for its design and construction by the end of March.
The federal government will fund half of the new bridge through its Bridges Renewal Program, with either council or the state government to stump up the rest of the cash needed.
“We did put in a funding application to the state government just prior to Christmas for the other half of the funding, so it would be terrific to see them now approve it,” Cr Kendall said.
The new bridge will improve access into the Bomen industrial area – the future site of the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics (RIFL) Hub – which was a key selling point in securing federal government funding.
“It will fit in perfectly with the RIFL Hub project at Bomen with what is happening out there and what will take place out there,” member for Riverina Michael McCormack said.
“(Eunony Bridge) has served this community very well for many decades but its use-by date is up.”
The new bridge will form part of a wider project being investigated by council to upgrade the link between the Sturt Highway at Gumly Gumly and Bomen.
The existing bridge’s northern approach from Oura Road was upgraded as part of the Eunony Bridge Road deviation project last year. Council secured funding late last year to upgrade the southern link between the bridge and the Sturt Highway as well as Byrnes Road past Oura Road.
“By replacing the bridge, that gives us that high-mass load (HML) capability directly into Bomen,” Cr Kendall said.
“That will mean a lot of trucks that exit Bomen or go into Bomen through the city will be able to come directly over Eunony Bridge.”
Upgrading the existing bridge to take HML vehicles was also looked at as a solution, but Cr Kendall said replacing it completely was the most economic option.
The existing bridge is likely to be demolished once its replacement is complete.