11 May 2020

Call for Molonglo River bridge to be fast-tracked

| Ian Bushnell
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Molonglo River

An artist’s impression of the planned bridge across the Molonglo River. Photo: City Services.

The proposed $150 million Molonglo River Bridge Crossing should be fast-tracked as part of the ACT Government’s COVID-19 economic survival plan, according to the Weston Creek Community Council.

Council chair Tom Anderson has written to Chief Minister Andrew Barr calling for longer-term infrastructure projects to be brought forward to keep the ACT’s construction workers employed, singling out the John Gorton Drive Molonglo River Bridge Crossing Project that will serve the new suburbs of the Molonglo Valley.

”This project would link existing Molonglo suburbs with the new suburb of Whitlam and would also provide high-quality transport links between Woden, Weston Creek, Molonglo and Belconnen for many decades once completed,” Mr Anderson said.

“We see this project as an essential link to ensure all-weather access between Molonglo suburbs, as well as alternative access routes in times of high congestion or emergency.”

Mr Anderson said that if the Tuggeranong Parkway was blocked, as it is frequently, there was no alternative crossing west of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge apart from Coppin’s Crossing ”and if this is flooded or compromised there is none”.

John Gorton Drive Project

The John Gorton Drive Project is crucial to the Molonglo Valley. Image: City Services.

He said the development of further stages of Whitlam needed John Gorton Drive to be completed and this included the bridge.

”As well, this would facilitate efficient access between the commercial centres in Belconnen, Molonglo (when developed), Weston Creek and Woden,” Mr Anderson said.

City Services says the proposed bridge will span 227.5 metres across the region’s major river and be built above a one in 100-year flood level.

It says the completed arterial road and bridge crossing will also support public transport, active travel, including on-road cycle lanes and off-road shared paths, and a future light rail route.

Early design work is underway including geotechnical investigations, and development and service authority approvals. This is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

The bridge has been seen as the missing link in planning for the Molonglo Valley, with critics attacking the ACT Government for pressing on with the developing the new suburbs without the critical piece of infrastructure being funded.

As Molongo’s population grows the resulting traffic increases are also putting pressure on the Cotter Road and Tuggeranong Parkway, adding urgency to the completion of the John Gorton Drive project to provide a safe and efficient link to Belconnen.

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Slow growth or no growth!
I too love Coppins Crossing.
The growth mindset dictates that I must forego this love for a bigger, bolder, more vibrant but congested and expensive Canberra.
Developers are stealing from the future and they’ve got much of the public on-board through investment opportunities.
Pause, think, what will your children do?

So is there a good reason why John Gorton Drive doesn’t connect directly with Coulter Drive, instead of the silly dog-leg arrangement that’s there? This nonsense negates any savings of having a dual bridge over the river.

Of course there is a good reason.

Their mates in the construction industry can make lots more money in a few years time by fixing it.

It would seem blindly obvious that they are making a disaster.

But I’m not an expert and will be happy if the future proves me to be wrong.

Not sure what the bridge and the intersection have in common, but for what it is worth there are plans to realign Coulter Drive to meet John Gorton Drive and the intersection was designed to cater for the easy realignment of Coulter Drive.

I believe the reason it wasn’t done when they did the intersection relates to the lease of the land on the Belconnen side. And the reason they didn’t simply run John Gorton Drive to the existing Coulter Drive intersection relates to the amount of work that would have been required to rebuilt that intersection.

Either way it is better than the original plans for Molongolo which had John Gorton Drive intersect about hallway between Coulter Drive and Bindubi Street.

Capital Retro9:53 am 11 May 20

It will also give the firefighters quicker access to Denman Prospect when the next 20 year bushfire from the NW comes through.

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