After four years of calls for upgrades to be done along Bourke Street and a string of incidences including a fatality in 2019, better lighting will be prioritised along the strip in the coming months.
Essential Energy announced on Wednesday its crews would be responsible for the upgrades, which will see the lights suspended over the centre of the multi-lane road replaced with traditional steel post streetlights.
A total of 43 existing streetlights will be replaced as part of the work, which is expected to take up to six months.
This comes as a big win for Wagga councillor Dan Hayes who called for an immediate review of the street, which is a 60km/h zone, subject to multiple school zones and is a high-density traffic area with dual lanes both ways, in October of 2019.
The poor lighting along Bourke Street was also addressed by residents including Robert Baliva who said the current dark amber coloured lights do not do the job they need to do to provide adequate visibility.
"Residents had raised concerns around Bourke Street's capacity, being a thoroughfare, for cars, but also for pedestrians," Cr Hayes said.
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"I put forward a review of Bourke Street around a whole lot of issues which included lighting, where the trees are planted, and how many lanes it is."
Essential Energy's Riverina Slopes operations manager Morgan Coelli said the current overhanging streetlights will be removed and replaced with new streetlight columns with outreaches.
Planning of the upgrade has been ongoing for about three years and Wagga City Council was engaged during the process.
Cr Hayes said better lighting will help pedestrians feel safer when looking to cross the street and enable motorists to be able to easily detect pedestrians.
"We want to make it safer for everyone using the road, school students, elderly residents, adults, you've got to be able to be seen," he said.
"It's really great, although it's taken a few years."
Cr Hayes's call for a review was only strengthened after the tragic death of a 69-year-old man who was struck at the pedestrian crossing on Bourke Street on June 17, 2021.
He was taken to Wagga Base Hospital in a critical condition and died a short time later.
During the works, there will be times in which Bourke Street will need to be reduced to one lane.
"To ensure the safety of the public, their property and Essential Energy crews while this work takes place, traffic control measures will be in place and we ask motorists to take care and follow traffic control directions when travelling in the area," Ms Coelli said.
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