THE association of Riverina councils has labelled Eunony Bridge “terribly inefficient” and the “major impediment” to unlocking growth in Wagga’s transport industry.
It comes after a week of confusion and support for a call to lift the speed limit on the Sturt Highway from the Hume exit, which was touted as a way to create more consistency for the trucking industry.
But Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils (REROC) executive officer Julie Briggs said an upgrade of the Eunony Bridge should be the most immediate priority.
The two-lane bridge is not wide enough and cannot support heavier trucks, forcing truckies to drive through the CBD to reach Bomen Business Park.
It is seen as seen as one of the major infrastructure “holes” around the long-awaited Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub (RIFL) – which is slated to be a game changer for the movement of freight in the Riverina.
“Once RIFL gets up and running, we will have two logistics firms operating within reach of each other,” Ms Briggs said. “Both need Eunony to be working for them. It is an incredibly important link.”
Ms Briggs said the bridge was increasing transport costs for freight companies.
“There has been a lot of lobby to have this bridge upgraded,” she said.
Council believes the bridge could cost up to $2 million to upgrade and $5 million to replace. And there is hope for state and federal government funding.
Cr Andrew Negline said there needed to be forward-thinking and challenged the state government to cough up the funds.
“This should not be dropped off the list,” he said. “If RIFL opens up, it’s going to be a necessity – and a big factor is the potential to get road trains in – not only for the abattoir, but for the saleyards as well. If B-triples become the norm, we’re going to need the roads.”
Wagga MP Daryl Maguire said the bridge was council infrastructure and there was a process to determine state government funding. Mr Maguire said it was one of the biggest priorities in the Wagga area.The trucking industry said this week a duplication of the Sturt Highway was also needed.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.