A Wagga man has hailed a small victory amid ongoing concerns over the future impact of the Inland Rail Project on the city.
When the Inland Rail construction crew comes through Wagga, the project will involve the raising of several bridges across the city.
The trouble-plagued four-lane Edmonson Street bridge, which partially collapsed last year is set to be raised by 2.8 metres as part of the project.
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An Inland Rail spokesperson said the replacement bridge will need to be raised to enable "safe passage of double stacked trains."
"The new bridge will maintain four lanes of traffic and improve pedestrian connectivity and shall comply with Austroads guidelines, including safe sight and stopping distances," the spokesperson said.
"ARTC and the contractor will be working through the constraints at this site with Wagga Council and Transport for NSW to provide the best outcome for the community over the coming months as we progress through the early stages of detailed design."
Wagga resident Craig Couzens has raised numerous concerns about the impact Inland Rail will have on the intersection and the danger it could pose to pedestrians and motorists.
But Couzens is now celebrating a small win as Inland Rail announces it plans to construct a new separate footbridge next to Edmonson Street.
Mr Couzens previously raised concerns the raised bridge would be very difficult for pedestrians, especially wheelchair-bound members of the public, to negotiate.
This week, Inland Rail revealed the separate pedestrian bridge proposed on the eastern side of the Edmondson Street bridge would "provide Disability Discrimination Act-compliant access for pedestrians."
The spokesperson said the new bridge would connect to the existing footpath network to the north and south of the bridge.
"The replacement road bridge will also feature a shared pedestrian/cyclist path on its western side," the spokesperson said.
"This path would be fenced off from the road, preventing pedestrians from crossing the road other than at the traffic lights."
Mr Couzens welcomed the decision and said it was great to hear his concerns had not fallen on deaf ears.
But he said it had taken a long time for the fix to come about and that the engineers must be "trying their best to make a good job of what is a very bad concept."
He also expressed continued concern at other proposed changes to the intersection of Edmonson and Edward streets, including the steep decline northbound traffic on Edmonson Street may have to negotiate as they approach the Sturt Highway intersection.
"It's going to be a very steep approach down to the highway and I just find it incredible they would even consider it," Mr Couzens said.
An Inland Rail spokesperson said an independent road safety audit and risk assessment of the final designs would be undertaken prior to construction, with action taken on findings where appropriate.
It comes as Inland Rail places its Albury to Illabo Preferred Infrastructure Report on public exhibition on Wednesday.
That report contains further visualisations and details on plans for infrastructure across the region, offering members of the community further insight into details of the project.
The PIR public exhibition period will allow members of the public to read about Inland Rail's current plans and make any additional comments to the Department of Planning and Environment on project matters of interest.
The Inland Rail team will be available at the following community information sessions next week, where attendees can access a summary of findings and receive further clarification about the report:
- Monday 20th November, Albury Library Museum, 12pm - 4pm
- Tuesday 21st November, Henty Library, 12pm - 4pm
- Wednesday 22nd November, Wagga Wagga City Library, 12pm - 4pm
- Thursday 23rd November, Athenium Theatre, Junee, 12pm - 4pm
For more information on the Albury to Illabo project, visit the Inland Rail website. The report will be available for public review and submission until December 6.
*This story originally reported the Edmonson Street Bridge will be raised by about two metres.
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