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Bridge has gone far for Wagga

26/07/2007  ::  2543  hits
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(From left) Former Member for Wagga Joe Schipp and Wagga councillors Peter Dale and Kevin Wales get together to reminisce about one of the most exciting times in Wagga’s civic history – the opening of the Gobba Bridge.Photo: Brett Koschel
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A former MP and two ex-mayors relived one of the most exciting times in Wagga’s civic history when they gathered at Wagga’s Gobba Bridge yesterday to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of “one of the most significant pieces of infrastructure of its time”.
The bridge was officially opened when then Member for Wagga Joe Schipp, then mayor Peter Dale, and the Carr Labor Government’s Public Works Minister Carl Scully jointly cut a ribbon across the roadway on July 26, 1997.
Helping Mr Schipp and Mr Dale reminisce yesterday was Kevin Wales, another former Wagga mayor, who was chair of council’s celebration committee for the gala opening.
The bridge is still believed to be the longest continuous-span viaduct in NSW, according to Mr Schipp, who recalled the political manoeuvring that preceded the bridge’s construction
“It was a political football for years,” he said. “We needed a flood-free crossing (of the Murrumbidgee) but the Roads and Traffic Authority didn’t have it on its program.
“Then Nick Greiner came to Wagga in the week of the 1988 election and promised the bridge would be built.”
The project, which commenced on July 28, 1994, was originally costed at $60 million but came in under budget thanks to an engineering breakthrough which meant the pylons did not have to be anchored into bedrock.
The construction of the Gobba Bridge was fundamental to the growth of Estella Estate and provided enormously beneficial to Charles Sturt University, Mr Dale said.
“It meant that the main street could be decommissioned as part of the Olympic Way thoroughfare,” he said.
“It is one of the most significant pieces of infrastructure of its time.
“The CBD would look a lot different now without it and it also stimulated what has happened to the north of the city.”

 

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