Possible case of coal tar uncovered in central Wagga

Published: 02 Feb 2017 1:02pm

A possible case of coal tar has been uncovered on a City of Wagga Wagga work site in Beckwith Street this morning.

Staff made the discovery near the Wollundry Lagoon bridge while undertaking scheduled works at the site. The works are in preparation for resealing of the road next month.

The site will be excavated today with all material transported off site and disposed of by contractors.

Coal tar is a by-product of coal-gas production and was commonly used as an alternative to bitumen.

In Wagga Wagga the product was used in road construction when bitumen was in short supply. Engineer assessment dates the material in Beckwith Street to most likely be from the 1940s.

When covered and undisturbed coal tar is not harmful, it also is used for a number of medical uses. Prolonged exposure of high-levels of coal tar could be dangerous to health.

The road, from Freer Street to The Esplanade, was expected to be closed until Friday for the preparation works. At this stage it is not known if the road will need to be closed beyond this date.

Site inspections by senior engineers and appropriate work, health and safety checks have been carried out at the site this morning.

MEDIA NOTE: Please do not enter the worksite if attending for footage or photographs. Staff on site will advise where you can safely capture footage or images.