Daily Advertiser editorial :Gobba Bridge solutions need a 'future focus'

Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t come up with a new solution on how to fix one of Wagga’s most persistent problems: The Gobba Bridge.

For years now we’ve moaned about the traffic and the congestion on the two-lane link, although it seems those complaints continually fall on deaf ears. But with growth to the north of the city continuing, thanks to residential development at Estella and industrial development at Bomen, the problem will only continue to get worse.

If Wagga were a suburb of Sydney, the bridge would have been replaced or duplicated a long time ago – probably with a toll on it – and there would be genuine public transport options for the people who need to cross it each day.

It’s starting to get beyond a joke and we’re wondering how many times we can complain about this vital infrastructure link before someone will take note and do something. 

Council often cops the blame for the Gobba Bridge, but it’s not their problem to solve; the bridge is a state road, part of the Olympic Highway, but council’s plans to use a stock culvert under the highway will alleviate some of the strain.

Seriously though, who’s responsible for looking at the state of the state’s roads and working out what needs to be done to improve them? Many suspect it’s someone who has never ventured west of the Blue Mountains, given the sheer volume of roads spending in Sydney. 

Here’s the problem with the Sydney-centric approach though: They’ve just announced billions in funding for Westconnex, Northconnex and the F6 (Southconnex anyone?), but after those billions are spent and the displaced residents take out enormous mortgages to replace their now-destroyed homes, the roads will still be shocking. More people will pour into Sydney because of a lack of a vision for decentralisation in Macquarie Street, leading to more congestion because the public transport links weren’t built 100 years ago.

It feels like the last truly visionary piece of infrastructure was the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In the 1920s and 30s, people said such a wide bridge would never be needed, but people like then-Premier Jack Lang knew the city would continue to grow.

If only the same could be said for the designers of the Gobba Bridge. Sadly, we only got a taste of the big-city congestion, not the visionary infrastructure.

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