Wagga mayor Greg Conkey has warned that the city faces massive disruptions to traffic under a proposed bridge replacement for the federal Inland Rail Project.
The $15 billion project, designed to improve rail freight speeds and weight limits between Brisbane and Melbourne, has identified Edmondson Street bridge as an obstacle.
Edmondson Street bridge has about 5 metres clearance between the rails and the bridge but Inland Rail's carriages with double-stacked shipping containers will require 7.1 metres of clearance to pass through.
"It will be massive traffic disruptions. It is a bridge that needs to be raised, they're looking at raising it rather than going lower but there will be a lot of disruptions when that happens," Cr Conkey said.
"It will cause enormous disruptions and we're not quite sure on the time frame. We are talking to Inland Rail about providing better access to South Wagga Public School and whether that can be done at the same time."
The project also proposed to lower tracks beneath the Pearson Street bridge, replace footbridges at Wagga Station and Cassidy Parade and remove disused structures along the line.
Inland Rail Albury to Parkes project director Melvyn Maylin said replacing the Edmondson Street Bridge was the preferred option.
"From an engineering point of view, the Edmondson Street bridge is a complex site that requires consideration of neighbouring schools and homes, as well as existing road and rail infrastructure," he said.
"We are continuing to work closely with communities and key stakeholders through the reference design phase of the project to minimise impacts as much as possible," Mr Maylin said.
Cr Conkey said Inland Rail would bring new jobs and population growth to Wagga and council regional activation director Michael Keys said it was a once-in-a lifetime project.
Committee 4 Wagga chief executive Brett Somerville said Inland Rail would be great overall for the city "but we need to iron out these crossings and minimise disruption so we can maximise what we get out of it as a community".
Cr Conkey said the Inland Rail project would also need to consider removing level crossings at Fernleigh Road and Docker Street in favour of either underpass or overpass crossings.
"At the moment, trains can be up to 1.8 kilometres long and that is going to increase to up to 3.6 kilometres long and that is going to take an enormous amount of time to go through those two level crossings," he said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: