The Tacked on Look: ACT Road modifications.

By 18 January, 2013 42

It doesn’t take much looking to find “exciting” roadworks anywhere in Canberra. What I can’t help but notice is that when these works are finished, they all look tacked on and cheap. Then there is quality of build which is usually average to poor.

Cases in point are the new merge lane from Parkes Way to Commonwealth Ave. Rough to drive on, sketchy geometry and still a pile of dirt left nearby. What about the Kings Ave overpass of Parkes Way? Strange twists and turns on almost every approach, and traffic lights with a suburb’s worth of space between them.

Don’t mention the GDE, its intial construction, the duplication, and the astounding exit path for Aranda. Seriously, who approved that? And why?

There are many more examples. I need convincing that doing the job right the first time would cost so much more, that I should be satisfied with the existing result. Am I too fussy, or is this what we have to look forward to in the future?

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42 Responses to The Tacked on Look: ACT Road modifications.
#1
shirty_bear2:35 pm, 18 Jan 13

Surely the main problem is that government departments (and many bureaucracies) simply don’t look beyond this years’ budget. There’s insufficient incentive to take the long-term view at the cost of short-term dollars or popularity.

There’s no such thing as an objective review of past inefficiencies, or long-term costs of previous short-sightedness. It just doesn’t happen.

What’s the line about those who ignore history being doomed to repeat it?

#2
Georgie Girl2:38 pm, 18 Jan 13

These will all pale into insignificance, when the accident waiting to happen is finished on Tharwa Drive.

New pedestrian lights are being installed near Lanyon Market Place. But not just anywhere, at the very point where two lanes merge into one (for southbound traffic). Drivers already set themselves dangerous challenges, such as I’m behind you as we enter the round about but I WILL be ahead of you by the time the lanes merge. Now they will have the added challenge of getting ahead AND beating the changing lights.

It’s just a matter of time till the first accident occurs…

#3
youami2:48 pm, 18 Jan 13

You are so right there, road construction in the ACT is amateur at best, some more examples for S&G:

1. Edinburgh Av heading towards Parkes Way at the new Nishi building and where the ‘new’ pavement ends and the existing pavement continues there is a drop in road height of about 20-30cm.

2. the cycle path construction along Marcus Clarke St (which I support btw) closed the northern end pedestrian crossing at the lights cnr Allsop St to divert pedestrians to the southern end (which they have been working on for weeks) only to not have the pavement completed so pedestrians going to IGA or City West bus station or City West carpark, etc have to walk on what looks like crushed mortar which is soft and is a trip hazard.

3. linemarking just north of the new Barry Drive/Clunies Ross intersection has the merge lane prematurely ending leaving the through lane about twice as wide as a regular lane for about 50m —same issue exists at the onramp to Caswell Dr south where the linemarkings are haphazard and open out into one and a half lanes before closing to form the merge.

4. remember it is taking 3 years to resurface Anzac Parade and still going – not to mention the ridiculous merge of the curb and middle lanes just before the Limestone Av roundabout? I mean why not have the left two lanes turn left? It doesn’t make sense.

TAMS argue on their website that ACT roads are built to Australian standards but there is no consistency in their roads to justify that claim. And as older posts here on RA this includes speed limit signs plus those bloody red-arrows at lights — I mean it is ludicrous that you can’t turn right without a green arrow in a 70km/h zone across light traffic in the ACT but you can cross a three-lane divided national highway in Sydney with heavy traffic without a waiting for an arrow.

#4
Keijidosha2:52 pm, 18 Jan 13

What about the Kings Ave overpass of Parkes Way? Strange twists and turns on almost every approach, and traffic lights with a suburb’s worth of space between them.

The dog-legged eastbound approach to this overpass is laughable. With the amount of vacant land available the transition from old to new alignments should have been much smoother.

Don’t mention the GDE, its intial construction, the duplication, and the astounding exit path for Aranda. Seriously, who approved that? And why?

I believe that the Bandjalong Street exit was not originally on the GDE plans, but vocal Aranda residents pushed the issue. The result is the convoluted mess you see today.

Don’t get me started on poor roads planning and implementation in the ACT. I’m continually dumbfounded by the ineptitude and lack of common sense shown by those responsible.

#5
Madam Cholet3:04 pm, 18 Jan 13

youami said :

You are so right there, road construction in the ACT is amateur at best, some more examples for S&G:

1. Edinburgh Av heading towards Parkes Way at the new Nishi building and where the ‘new’ pavement ends and the existing pavement continues there is a drop in road height of about 20-30cm.

And to boot, coming the other way off of Parkes and onto Edinburgh. Insert trendy new euro traffic lights just as drivers arestill sorting out how incoming traffic merges to cross two or three lanes so they can go left right or straight ahead. Everyone obviously wants to merge earlier rather than later.

When the post Xmas traffic returns in full, it’s going to be interesting. Not sure why the Nishi exit had to be right there and why it could not exit around where the cafe is. Not that familiar with the layout so maybe it is the only place, but it’s awkward. Throw in cinema traffic in the evening and you have a real carpark taking shape!

#6
Tony3:50 pm, 18 Jan 13

Add Clarrie Hermes Dr extension to the Barton High. This carries fairly light traffic, but needed repairs months after completion due to pot hold everywhere – and it still like surface of the moon.

#7
youami4:36 pm, 18 Jan 13

Madam Cholet said :

youami said :

You are so right there, road construction in the ACT is amateur at best, some more examples for S&G:

1. Edinburgh Av heading towards Parkes Way at the new Nishi building and where the ‘new’ pavement ends and the existing pavement continues there is a drop in road height of about 20-30cm.

And to boot, coming the other way off of Parkes and onto Edinburgh. Insert trendy new euro traffic lights just as drivers arestill sorting out how incoming traffic merges to cross two or three lanes so they can go left right or straight ahead. Everyone obviously wants to merge earlier rather than later.

When the post Xmas traffic returns in full, it’s going to be interesting. Not sure why the Nishi exit had to be right there and why it could not exit around where the cafe is. Not that familiar with the layout so maybe it is the only place, but it’s awkward. Throw in cinema traffic in the evening and you have a real carpark taking shape!

I hear you… I come onto Edinburgh from the east off Parkes Way and I have to cross two lanes to turn left into Marcus Clarke St (like 90% of traffic coming off in the same direction). In fact, the off ramp used to be two lanes at the lights but they permanently closed one of the lanes early in construction… thing is they marked off and closed the left lane with a painted island but then less than a month later they swapped it around so the left lane is open again and the right lane now closed with painted island… you can still see three versions of the road as they removed the old lines by taking off a layer of the road base: the original that was in place for probably decades, the first attempt that lasted less than a month, and now the current attempt.

#8
Spykler5:25 pm, 18 Jan 13

youami said :

Madam Cholet said :

youami said :

You are so right there, road construction in the ACT is amateur at best, some more examples for S&G:

1. Edinburgh Av heading towards Parkes Way at the new Nishi building and where the ‘new’ pavement ends and the existing pavement continues there is a drop in road height of about 20-30cm.

And to boot, coming the other way off of Parkes and onto Edinburgh. Insert trendy new euro traffic lights just as drivers arestill sorting out how incoming traffic merges to cross two or three lanes so they can go left right or straight ahead. Everyone obviously wants to merge earlier rather than later.

When the post Xmas traffic returns in full, it’s going to be interesting. Not sure why the Nishi exit had to be right there and why it could not exit around where the cafe is. Not that familiar with the layout so maybe it is the only place, but it’s awkward. Throw in cinema traffic in the evening and you have a real carpark taking shape!

I hear you… I come onto Edinburgh from the east off Parkes Way and I have to cross two lanes to turn left into Marcus Clarke St (like 90% of traffic coming off in the same direction). In fact, the off ramp used to be two lanes at the lights but they permanently closed one of the lanes early in construction… thing is they marked off and closed the left lane with a painted island but then less than a month later they swapped it around so the left lane is open again and the right lane now closed with painted island… you can still see three versions of the road as they removed the old lines by taking off a layer of the road base: the original that was in place for probably decades, the first attempt that lasted less than a month, and now the current attempt.

I knew I could not possibly be the only one horrified at taking my life into my own hands whenever I have to traverse across Edinburgh ave to get to Marcus Clarke (or the more spine-tingling left turn onto Hales street to get into the ANU)..Stay tuned for multiple accidents, including one with a cyclist as a green strip runs across the Hales st turn-off..:(

#9
JC7:50 pm, 18 Jan 13

So have any of you bothered to provide feedback using the fix my street page on Canberra connect?

If not go to the webpage below and do so.

I have done so with a few issues, including the relocated merge on Southern Cross Drive and I can assure you they do read what you have to say and do contact you. In relation to the Southern Cross Drive merge there have been issues, and someone from ACT Roads contacted me today to advise that due to complaints they WILL be making changes.

https://www.contact.act.gov.au/app/ask/c/2825%2C2837/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xMzU4NDk4NTk1L3NpZC9EbVE5Y0JnbA%3D%3D

In relation to some of the issues, I do agree 100% that modifications do end up with some weird situations that could have been done better (no doubt at extra cost though). My pet hate is varying road surfaces, ie one chip seal in part of the lane and normal asphalt for the other, why not reseal the whole lane for a short distance to make the transition smooth.

And with Clarie Hermes Drive, I believe the chip seal part of that road has been built to a lesser quality as it is a temporary alignment and will be changed when the area is developed. The end near Casey is the final alignment. This kind of arrangement has been common for ages. Take the old Gungahlin Drive allignment for example around Mitchell and Horse Park from the Highway around.

#10
J0HN8:44 pm, 18 Jan 13

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design. If you think about driving on the right hand side of the road the Aranda intersection works, well better than it does now.

The resurfacing of random short stretches of suburban roads is dangerous. The amount of loose gravel left all over the road is a joke.

As a taxpayer I’d settle for less than half the amount of roadworks, done properly, for the same money we pay now.

#11
Deckard10:04 pm, 18 Jan 13

J0HN said :

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design.

Wasn’t that the urban myth of the glenloch interchange? Before the GDE was a glint in your mother’s eye…

#12
benno13:32 pm, 19 Jan 13

Georgie Girl said :

These will all pale into insignificance, when the accident waiting to happen is finished on Tharwa Drive.

New pedestrian lights are being installed near Lanyon Market Place. But not just anywhere, at the very point where two lanes merge into one (for southbound traffic). Drivers already set themselves dangerous challenges, such as I’m behind you as we enter the round about but I WILL be ahead of you by the time the lanes merge. Now they will have the added challenge of getting ahead AND beating the changing lights.

It’s just a matter of time till the first accident occurs…

And yet there is an underpass 100m away that could have been utilised instead.

#13
Antagonist4:17 pm, 19 Jan 13

benno1 said :

Georgie Girl said :

These will all pale into insignificance, when the accident waiting to happen is finished on Tharwa Drive.

New pedestrian lights are being installed near Lanyon Market Place. But not just anywhere, at the very point where two lanes merge into one (for southbound traffic). Drivers already set themselves dangerous challenges, such as I’m behind you as we enter the round about but I WILL be ahead of you by the time the lanes merge. Now they will have the added challenge of getting ahead AND beating the changing lights.

It’s just a matter of time till the first accident occurs…

And yet there is an underpass 100m away that could have been utilised instead.

+100. This will be a textbook example of a band-aid solution causing bigger problems than it was intended to resolve. I just hope that no pedestrians are hurt when this one turns to sh!t.

#14
Pork Hunt4:39 pm, 19 Jan 13

J0HN said :

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design. If you think about driving on the right hand side of the road the Aranda intersection works, well better than it does now.

The resurfacing of random short stretches of suburban roads is dangerous. The amount of loose gravel left all over the road is a joke.

As a taxpayer I’d settle for less than half the amount of roadworks, done properly, for the same money we pay now.

American design? What, they dug a long thin hole and put bitumen in it and called it a road? The same as every other ¥#%£ does in the world?

#15
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd6:10 pm, 19 Jan 13

With canberra government, and I hate to use such a cliche term, but you get what you pay for.
99% of the time, lowest bidder wins the tender.

Why exactly are the peeps responsible for the concrete pour collapsed bridge on GDE even allowed to work in this town?

#16
Deckard7:33 pm, 19 Jan 13

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

peeps

I think you’ve overused that word to death. Please stop.

#17
cranky8:03 pm, 19 Jan 13

Deckard said :

J0HN said :

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design.

Wasn’t that the urban myth of the glenloch interchange? Before the GDE was a glint in your mother’s eye…

This nonsense goes back even further to the design of State Circle around Parl House.

#18
cranky8:19 pm, 19 Jan 13

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

With canberra government, and I hate to use such a cliche term, but you get what you pay for.
99% of the time, lowest bidder wins the tender.

Why exactly are the peeps responsible for the concrete pour collapsed bridge on GDE even allowed to work in this town?

A valid comment. When will we be told exactly what went wrong with this concrete pour? Certainly some individuals signed off on an inadequate structure. One assumes they did so in the hope that all would go well, but it would be educative to find what financial imperatives were laid on the table, strongly influencing their decision making.

Bottom line. Cheapest price will win every time. Shit happens, the contactor wears it. As shown by the electricity contract, price rules everything the ACT bureacracy does. Sure, they are doing everything to reduce the cost to the ACT exchequer, but I’d suggest a bit more commercial oversight of the processes would pay dividends , both financially and politically.

#19
Spykler8:27 pm, 19 Jan 13

J0HN said :

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design. If you think about driving on the right hand side of the road the Aranda intersection works, well better than it does now.

The old Belconnen bus interchange was apparently based on an American design, but when we constructed it out here it was soon discovered that it worked way better if the vehicles drove on the right-hand side of the road..
Another Canberra Urban myth?- couldn’t say for sure…

#20
Antagonist8:30 pm, 19 Jan 13

cranky said :

Deckard said :

J0HN said :

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design.

Wasn’t that the urban myth of the glenloch interchange? Before the GDE was a glint in your mother’s eye…

This nonsense goes back even further to the design of State Circle around Parl House.

Wasn’t all of Canberra designed by an American architect named Walter Burley Griffin?

#21
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd9:23 pm, 19 Jan 13

Deckard said :

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

peeps

I think you’ve overused that word to death. Please stop.

Explain?

#22
poetix10:15 pm, 19 Jan 13

Antagonist said :

cranky said :

Deckard said :

J0HN said :

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design.

Wasn’t that the urban myth of the glenloch interchange? Before the GDE was a glint in your mother’s eye…

This nonsense goes back even further to the design of State Circle around Parl House.

Wasn’t all of Canberra designed by an American architect named Walter Burley Griffin?

Marion Mahony Griffin and her husband, yes. She studied with Frank Lloyd Wright.

#23
JC8:46 am, 20 Jan 13

Spykler said :

The old Belconnen bus interchange was apparently based on an American design, but when we constructed it out here it was soon discovered that it worked way better if the vehicles drove on the right-hand side of the road..
Another Canberra Urban myth?- couldn’t say for sure…

100% an urban myth and depending upon how you view it they didn’t actually run on the wrong side of the road. The interchange was design with a central platform so passengers didn’t have to cross the road like they do now if they wish to change bus. As the doors are on the left of the bus this means the buses need to run to the right of the platform, just as they do on the road. It may seem they are going the wrong way, but in reality the roads down the side of the platform were separate one way streets. The same is also true for Woden and Tuggeranong Interhchanges, though not quite as obvious as Belconnen was due to their respective designs.

Admittedly when first built the buses DID run on the wrong side of the road on the Belconnen busway, this was for about 100m before Benjamin Way. This was so buses entering the interchange from the busway and those exiting onto the busway could turn at the same time. To do this there was a crossover next to the Churches Centre. This was later removed and buses entering and exiting then had different light phases.

Anyway even if you do consider buses went the wrong way through the interchange it is hardly an American design. If that design was used in America as is, yes the buses would be going the ‘right’ way, but their doors would be on the wrong side compared to the platform.

#24
JC8:49 am, 20 Jan 13

Antagonist said :

cranky said :

Deckard said :

J0HN said :

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design.

Wasn’t that the urban myth of the glenloch interchange? Before the GDE was a glint in your mother’s eye…

This nonsense goes back even further to the design of State Circle around Parl House.

Wasn’t all of Canberra designed by an American architect named Walter Burley Griffin?

It sure was, NOT. He and his wife designed ALL of Canberra’s subrubs, including Woden, Weston Creek, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Gungahlin. Way back then they knew that this city would be dominated by the car, so they designed all the roads and all the suburbs. Pretty modern thinkers weren’t they?

#25
bundah10:14 am, 20 Jan 13

Of course it would be too much for someone from TAMS to respond to all the valid concerns highlighted here on RA.But then again how does one defend the indefensible?

#26
AussieRodney12:28 pm, 20 Jan 13

JC said :

So have any of you bothered to provide feedback using the fix my street page on Canberra connect?

Yes, I have. Contact is usually pretty quick & activity does eventually take place.

To add to the list, on the GDE northbound over the Barton Highway, on the far edge of the bridge there’s a drop that can almost swallow a small car.

#27
youami11:35 am, 21 Jan 13

Well looks like the problems with the intersection at Edinburgh Av/Parkes Wy nr Nishi was realised today; a black Astra was T-boned whilst trying to do the change-lane shuffle. Not my car or accident but worth mentioning as it is only a week or so before everyone comes back to work.

#28
Madam Cholet12:04 pm, 21 Jan 13

youami said :

Well looks like the problems with the intersection at Edinburgh Av/Parkes Wy nr Nishi was realised today; a black Astra was T-boned whilst trying to do the change-lane shuffle. Not my car or accident but worth mentioning as it is only a week or so before everyone comes back to work.

Just regaling Monsieur Cholet about this new disaster yesterday. And I remarked how when the post Xmas traffic returns all hell will let loose as the change was made basically as work days petered out last year. I might start taking Constitution Ave instead. Oh wait, I can’t because that’s a complete disaster too right now.

Went down to have a look at the new lights at Conder (gosh I lead an exciting life!!), and I can confirm that yes, they are in a particularly stupid spot where two lanes start to become one. Not only will this ensure bingles between competing cars, but will also ensure that peak hour traffic coming home to Gordon and Banks will probably back up over the roundabout she the lights change.

#29
RadioVK1:20 pm, 21 Jan 13

Deckard said :

J0HN said :

I heard that the GDE was taken from an American road design.

Wasn’t that the urban myth of the glenloch interchange? Before the GDE was a glint in your mother’s eye…

I’ve also heard the same thing said about the old Belconnen mall car park. I think it was a pretty widespread urban myth at the time, and used to explain all sorts of crap road design.

#30
Loxmyf2:13 pm, 21 Jan 13

The one that gets me is the upgrade of the intersection of College St and Cooinda St in Bruce.

The intersection at Whelan St has been here for longer than I’ve been in Canberra, likely built when the houses in there were.

The Cooinda St intersection was a horrible intersection with one lane each way, lots of buses and no separate turning lanes. With a lot of newly licensed uni students using the intersection, it could get congested very quickly and accidents were a common occurrence..

A couple of years ago, TPTB decided to upgrade the College St/Cooinda St intersection. It was a long overdue upgrade. The trouble is, they didn’t align it with the unused portion of the Whelan St intersection 100m down the road. They ignored the pre-laid out divided intersection that had been there for at least 8 years and made the road angle back to single lanes each way (albeit with turning lanes).

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