WAGGA City Council has aired its frustrations after dodging delays to the Farrer Road upgrade that almost cost them a quarter of million dollars.
General manager Peter Thompson said it was prearranged for Essential Energy crews to temporarily disconnect power at the construction site last Thursday, so that a power pole standing in the middle of the new road could be removed.
The energy company, however advised the council that its staff would not be available for the job due to the ongoing bushfire emergency ravaging the state, said Mr Thompson.
He said the earliest possible date given to council to have the power turned off was January 30.
"The problem for the council is that the pole is literally in the middle of the construction site," he said.
In other news:
"If the council directs the construction contractor to stop work until Essential Energy are able to turn the power off, the penalties payable by council to the contractor under the contract would be nearly $250,000."
Mr Thompson said the council made the decision to build the road around the power pole to avoid blowing out the project's budget and keep the project on track for when school resumes at the end of the month.
The pole is not a permanent fixture of the multimillion-dollar upgrade and will be removed as soon as possible, said Mr Thompson.
"So the strange sight Wagga residents might see on Farrer Road is a power pole emerging from the middle of the new roadway," he said.
"In every respect it will look ludicrous. Never-the-less, it will save up to $250,000."
An Essential Energy spokesperson said the company had to reprioritise large amounts of work due to the bushfires burning across the state causing unprecedented damage to the electricity network.
The spokesperson said power is "an essential part of the recovery process" for those impacted by the devastating bushfires.
At midday on Thursday there were still around 5,000 homes and businesses without power, many of which that have not had power since New Years Eve.
"Excluding a small number of Essential Energy field-based employees who have remained in Wagga to attend to fault and emergency work, all other Wagga field-based employees are assisting with power restoration efforts across the Riverina where bushfires have damaged the electricity network," the spokesperson said.
They said the company appreciated the community's understanding and support with the need to restore power to those towns that were impacted by the bushfires over the past 10 days.