A WAGGA councillor has rubbished the development of a set of lights on Brookong Avenue, accusing the city’s traffic committee of “making dumb decisions and pandering”.
Paul Funnell claims the controversial Docker Street overhaul will cause gridlock traffic pains and lead to a tragedy at the adjoining rail corridor.
He planned to forward a motion to council opposing the development next week – but was blindsided by construction quietly beginning on Monday.
“These lights are ill-conceived, dumb and nonsensical and once this becomes a nightmare I am going to name the councillors who voted in favour of it,” he said.
“I intended to fight the lights but unfortunately I left my run too late.
“The date construction was set to begin was quite suppressed.”
Due to protocol, Cr Funnell can no longer put a formal vote to council on the development’s future.
“I’d like to explore my options because I am tired of other councillors saying if a decision is made, we should move on,” he said.
“The community had no consultation or insight and yet the health department called the shots.”
The proposed three-sequence traffic signals will be built approximately 300 metres from the Edward Street intersection and 250 metres from the train crossing.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) first spearheaded the initiative in November, citing a need to “improve car and public transport access from Edward Street”.
Wagga Health Service manager for corporate and business services Michael Morris said the roadworks will enhance safety and complement the ongoing improvements to the campus.
Meanwhile, council’s $240,000 Integrated Transport Strategy – billed as the silver bullet to fix the city’s traffic woes – ignored congestion in the hospital precinct entirely.
Dr Richard Harrison, who was behind the four-storey medical consulting suite Docker Medical, pleaded with council for action.
“The traffic in the medical precinct is a major problem,” Dr Harrison said.
“If you spend time in Docker Street from Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 9.30am and in the afternoon, you’ll see traffic jams that make Wagga look like a big, congested city.”
There are no plans to sync the Brookong Avenue lights with the Edward Street lights.