Concerns are growing in Gungahlin that its road system won’t be able to cope with another expected development spurt in the northern suburbs.
The single carriageway sections of Gungahlin and Horse Park Drives servicing Ngunnawal, Casey, Moncrieff, Taylor and Jacka are under increasing pressure due to several large developments planned and more housing.
Lendlease’s expansion of its retirement village, The Grove, and the coming construction of the adjacent Gold Creek Homestead development are already causing village residents disquiet, particularly how the Monty Place entrance off Gungahlin Drive will handle heavy machinery.
The proposal for a nine-storey residential tower in Casey that will add 500 people to the suburb also has residents and St John Paul II College worried about traffic increases.
There is also believed to be a second public secondary college planned in the area.
Gungahlin Community Council President Peter Elford said there were ongoing concerns with traffic flow and new developments, but the government had been unresponsive.
“We know that if you don’t start planning these things, then they are not going to be there for three years,” Mr Elford said.
“Exactly what the plan is to invest in the infrastructure to match the intensification of the density of housing is the broader question.”
Mr Elford said there were many roads into and within Gungahlin where space had been left for duplication but were still waiting for government to decide that demand warranted it.
Transport Canberra and City Services Minister Chris Steel said the government was currently undertaking a feasibility study of potential road improvements in the Gungahlin region and updating traffic modelling for the area.
But he could not say when key roads would be duplicated.
“It really depends on what the traffic modelling says about when we need extra capacity on our roads,” he said.
“We’ll be looking closely at what the population projections say based on the updated census data and then we’ll be able to make informed decisions about where we make that investment.
“We’ll be certainly looking at how we can update our infrastructure plan to provide a full pipeline of work that will support the growth of this region.”
Mr Steel said the modelling would also consider possible new housing on the CSIRO site on the Barton Highway and look at Clarrie Hermes Drive, Mirrabei Drive, and the unduplicated parts of Gungahlin Drive and Horse Park Drive.
Construction of the Gold Creek development, which will add 45 retirement villas to The Grove and construct a 124-bed residential aged care facility, is expected to get underway in 2023 and last for two years.
Mr Elford said a second access point had been suggested on the northern edge of the Gold Creek site, but this was unlikely to happen given the impact of a new feeder road on the existing residential area.
He said the current solution to managing traffic at the Monty Place/Gungahlin Drive intersection is a left turn in, left turn out arrangement so no one could turn against the flow of traffic.
But Lendlease should be listening to the Grove Residents.
“The challenge is to be respectful of current residents and to do what is appropriate to meet their concerns. Just ignoring them and pressing is on is not the solution,” Mr Elford said.
A Lendlease spokesperson said the company would implement a comprehensive construction management plan which considers traffic volumes throughout the construction phase and made every effort to minimise noise and other impacts on the community.
The development application, which is still being assessed, contains a traffic plan which outlines expected activity throughout the construction period both inside and outside the village.
The project will also retain, restore and activate elements of the original Gold Creek Homestead.
The community council will take up the roads issue when it meets with TCCS next month.