Councillors' calls for cash handouts heard by Wagga's politicians

Gregadoo Road. Picture: Les Smith

Gregadoo Road. Picture: Les Smith

WAGGA’S state and federal members have conceded council does not have enough money for emergency repairs of local roads and will need a cash injection. 

It comes amid reports council’s annual $9 million roads budget shortfall necessitated sub-standard construction methods, which have been exposed by record rains.

Wagga has already notched up the wettest September on record and eclipsed its average annual rainfall. 

Springvale resident Lisa Vidler said Wagga’s roads were becoming increasingly dangerous for motorists and cyclists alike.

The local school teacher claimed Lloyd Road was a prime example of “safety hazards” caused by unavoidable potholes that force drivers to slam the brakes. 

“Potholes spread right into the middle of the road and drivers are forced to slow from 80km/h to almost a stop in order to navigate around them,” she said. 

“There are major drop-offs at the shoulder of the roads, such that the shoulders are closed because if you run off the side you'll damage your vehicle.

“There are signs encouraging drivers to share the road, but cyclists would be avoiding Lloyd Road like the plague.”

Wagga’s state MP Daryl Maguire said he was well aware of the mounting road repair backlog, with the road he lives on “mud and slush from start to end”.

“The roads have deteriorated tremendously, putting extraordinary pressure on council,” Mr Maguire said.

“Council’s job now is to appraise the damage and begin discussions with the government for additional funding.”

Federal MP Michael McCormack also acknowledged “potholes are quite dangerous, particularly for motorbike riders” and committed to raising the treacherous state of local roads with government ministers.

“I’ve really noticed in recent weeks and months what a toll the continual rain has had on our highways and byways, particularly the streets around Wagga,” Mr McCormack said. 

The small business minister stopped short of promising cash and suggested Wagga council “may have to look at their priorities”.

“Anything the federal and state government governments can offer over and above normal funding would be handy, I understand that, but without a budget surplus, any money for roads has to be borrowed.”

In a written statement, a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) spokeswoman said state government staff would undertake “substantial patching and road resurfacing” when the rain abates. 

“Roads and Maritime Services crews are currently working extended shifts, seven days a week and on some occasions at night to address emergency road repairs,” the spokeswoman said.

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