Escalating safety concerns prompt full closure of western end of Dunns Road
Published: 23 Aug 2023 2:03pm
Wagga Wagga City Council has taken the decisive step to fully block all access to the Olympic Highway end of Dunns Road in response to safety concerns surrounding the Dunns Road Upgrade project.
Dunns Road, between Kunzea Place and Olympic Highway, was closed to all through traffic when construction work began in June, but local residents still had access from both the eastern and western ends.
However, Council Directory Strategy & Projects Phil McMurray says a hard closure has now been put in place at the western end as a direct response to motorists blatantly disregarding road closure signs and driving through the road works site.
“The construction site has evolved into a high-risk zone due to the presence of heavy machinery and large trucks operating within close proximity,” Mr McMurray said.
“This kind of self-entitled behaviour by these motorists jeopardises not only their own safety but that of the construction crew.”
Contractor Excell Gray Bruni Area Manager Justin Porganyi noted an alarming spike in motorists ignoring road closures and “recklessly speeding” along Dunns Road in recent weeks.
“This is clearly dangerous behaviour with heavy machinery and workers on the road,” Mr Porganyi said.
“While road closures might be inconvenient; they are essential safety measures to protect the lives of both our dedicated construction workers and the public,” Mr Porganyi said.
“Remember, every member of our team is someone's parent, sibling, spouse, or child – their safety matters, and we all have a role to play in ensuring they return home safely each day.”
Mr McMurray urges motorists to obey road closures, which are in place for a reason.
“Aside from putting lives at risk, people should know that ignoring road closure signs is a serious traffic offence,” Mr McMurray said.
“Motorists who disregard road closure signs face potential traffic infringement penalties,” Mr McMurray said.
“It may also impact a vehicle’s insurance claim.”
Riverina Highway Patrol Supervisor Sergeant Hannah Bloomfield says police obviously have significant concerns about the safety of the road crews that are working on the site at the moment.
"We've identified several instances of non-compliance so police will be maintaining a high presence around here whilst the road is closed,” Sergeant Bloomfield said.
The upgrade project is progressing well due to the run of good weather in recent months.
“With around 400 B-double truckloads of road base delivered and applied across the three-kilometre section of unsealed road, the process of sealing will soon start,” Mr McMurray said.
Council and the contractor are working with Transport for NSW to finalise arrangements for the next stage of the project which will be to create the new Dunns Road and Olympic Highway intersection.
The project is funded by the Australian Government ($5.8 million) and Wagga Wagga City Council ($2.5 million).