THE rapid growth of the city’s northern suburbs has renewed calls to duplicate the Gobbagombalin Bridge.
Despite having proven its worth as a flood-free access to the city during high river levels, the 12-year-old bridge is increasingly hit with delays.
High volumes of traffic feeding into the two-lane bridge make it susceptible to accidents as commuters are forced to wait it out with limited alternatives.
An accident on Travers Street on Thursday afternoon stalled traffic across the bridge for almost an hour.
It follows calls last year when three crashes in just as many months effectively shut down the bridge.
Committee 4 Wagga (C4W) lists the duplication of the Gobba Bridge in its top five prioritised projects.
C4W believes the bridge can’t adequately service existing traffic demand during peak hours.
Added to that is the projected population growth in northern suburbs like Estella.
One hundred new families who moved to Estella in the last 12 months brought 1000 new traffic movements across the bridge each week, according to C4W chief executive Chris Fitzpatrick.
Wagga has averaged a 1.3 per cent growth in the past 10 years, with a population increase of 16,500 people expected between 2012 and 2030.
“With that projected population increase, we need to plan properly or it will definitely bite us on our heels,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
The location of Charles Sturt University adds to the bottlenecked traffic on weekday mornings and afternoons, with some Estella residents opting to drive through North Wagga instead.
Wagga City Council mayor Rod Kendall believed the duplication of Gobba Bridge wouldn’t render a solution to traffic delays on the intersections at either entry.
He said roundabouts further along Olympic Highway carried the same capacity as the bridge in its current form.
Councillor Kendall hoped the issue would be addressed under the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) current corridor and heavy vehicle bypass $100,000 study, which includes arterial roads, bridges and intersections.
The RMS said it had no plans to upgrade or provide an alternative structure to the bridge in a statement last year, but is expected to start the 12-month bypass study this month.
In the event of a crash, traffic is currently detoured via North Wagga.
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