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Cycle paths & new road developments

By Madam Cholet - 31 January 2010 19

As we were on the way to Erindale this morning, I commented to my husband that it looked as if some of the bike paths around our area of Tuggeranong have been re-surfaced. As a frequent user of these paths my husband then went on to appraise me of what he thought of the new surface. Whilst he appreciates that they have been “upgraded”, it seems as if the quality of the upgrade is rather poor, and in his words, must have been done by The Bodgy Brothers. The biggest problem seems to be that the new surface is re-laid directly on top of the old surface with inadequate preparation, leaving in place most of the existing lumps and bumps caused by tree roots etc. To boot, the new surface is not of good quality and causes more friction between it and the tyre.

It appears that road surfacing in Canberra is generally of a low quality. Has the government never heard of the concept of doing the job properly and therefore less frequently? Given the extremes of temperature experienced in the ACT, would it not be wise to go for higher quality over scrimping to save a few dollars?

Wondering if it’s just the South side of town that has been dudded on the bike paths?

I have also noticed on my travels that the newly constructed roads around Majura seem to be along the same lines as the GDE in that they make not much extra provision for increases in traffic over the next few years. Waiting at the lights on Friday afternoon to come back into Canberra from Majura Road, traffic queues were significant and it dawned on me that even when the roadworks on this side of the new development were finished, it was not going to make any difference. The lane to turn right at the main intersection seems also to be narrower than a standard car.

The Government could clearly do with a trip to the optometrists  to try to do something about it’s very bad shortsightedness.

What’s Your opinion?


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19 Responses to
Cycle paths & new road developments
Rollersk8r 11:59 am 01 Feb 10

Yes! I’ve been wanting to question someone about this crap soft surface!?! About 8 months ago they replaced the bike paths in Kaleen/Giralang with this soft stuff, felt like riding through sand. I thought it was only temporary because about 2 months ago they closed it all off and did it again – only with the same surface! It’s terrible! Bad enough to ride on, can’t imagine how slow and dangerous it would be for skateboards, rollerskates etc….

niftydog 11:32 am 01 Feb 10

Cold bitumen technology – basically it’s not hot mix, it’s luke-warm mix that’s literally rollered onto the old surface with a special machine.

The original run around my suburb was done very poorly – crumbly, corrugated surface. This was overlaid a few months back to a better standard. But yes, some bumps are still there, and the weeds are already growing through the cracks.

Still, it’s much, much better than doing nothing and probably represents better value for the whole of Canberra than ripping up and relaying paths.

Chiefliness media release.

Gungahlin Al 10:48 am 01 Feb 10

Yes madamcholet it’s a pathetic excuse for a street surface isn’t it? And they are rolling it out everywhere.

To make matters worse, Roads ACT concede that this resurfacing treatment their cash-strapped budget has cornered them into using for their 20-year cycle resealing program will last just 15 years. If that isn’t the embodiment of an unsustainable maintenance program I don’t what is.

We have discussed its pathetic-ness previously at: http://the-riotact.com/?p=10676 and http://the-riotact.com/?p=10361

Danman 9:13 am 01 Feb 10

astrojax said :

noticed some repaving done on the path between wattle st and mccarthur ave the other day – tres bon, but it was just a quick trundle and i didn’t pay attention to the detail. anyone else use this can comment further?

Astrojax – I use this path twice daily. Its a great addition, including a lot of the path around Lake BG.

Someone above mentioned that the mix is quite soft. Initially this patch that Astro is talking of was quite soft, and had bike tire marks, but then they (who?) laid another layer on top which was quite firmer. Furthermore, this section was quite rootbound, these sections were cut out and relaid before the resurfacing works began.

I would suggest that if you do not have a dotted line on your path yet, it is yet to be completed and will have a firmer layer added.

I too was dissapointed when I saw how easily this surface was groove and rutted, but it seems I was jumping the gun as it was yet to be completed, as I am assuming your pathes are.

Beau Locks 8:53 am 01 Feb 10

As someone without a car who uses Canberra’s bike paths every day, I can report that the job that’s been done is more or less useless. I would have preferred if only a fraction of the paths were fixed, but were done properly. The new paths are soft, and will wear quickly. The surface does not feel good at high speed, and you can no longer see the (still extant) bumps underneath. Good intention, but poorly executed.

I reckon if this had been done on a well used vehicle road there would be an uproar. Unfortunately if there’s grumbling about this from cyclists it’s likely that the car using populous will become reactionary (“My taxes being spent on ungrateful cyclists that don’t pay rego” etc etc). The good news is that Canberra’s still an awesome place to cycle, and it’s great that money’s being put into cycling infrastructure. Big ups to the Greens for negotiating some cycling $ with Labor as part of the agreement that handed the reins of government back to chiefly one.

bd84 1:41 am 01 Feb 10

I’ve noticed they have done quite a few bike paths across canberra in the past few weeks, almost overnight. It does look like it is a straight overlay, but it looks like the good hot mix rather than cheap rock overlay. There’s not much more they can do really, at least it’s a better job than the dodgy job they did on the first GDE extension and more than most roads in Canberra get.

JC 8:42 pm 31 Jan 10

The ‘poorer’ quality roads as you so put it are due to the use of chip sealing roads when they become ‘old’ rather than resurfacing as is done in other cities.

Now whilst there is no doubt a cost benefit the main reason they do it this way is because the main road surface is in otherwise good repair and does not need the added cost of ripping it up to re-surface.

Felix the Cat 8:41 pm 31 Jan 10

Most of the new and resurfaced bike paths I’ve seen lately are good though I noticed there are cracks starting to appear in sections of the new bike path in Weston near Streeton Dr/Cotter Rd where vehicles have been driven across them.

I notice to their has been some recent long-overdue patching of potholes on Gungahlin Dr (northbound) just near Sanford St Mitchell and they have used the smooth hotmix type bitumen instead of the loose stones that we usually get.

I have noticed too that right hand turning lane at the end of Majura Rd is very skinny, skinnier than the two lanes of the bridge going over the Molongolo River heading toward Fyshwick on the Monaro Highway. The left hand turning lane seems to be two cars wide but is only marked for one. Maybe it’s this wide to allow semi-trailers going to Queanbeyan to swing wide to negotiate the corner?

astrojax 8:13 pm 31 Jan 10

noticed some repaving done on the path between wattle st and mccarthur ave the other day – tres bon, but it was just a quick trundle and i didn’t pay attention to the detail. anyone else use this can comment further?

Deckard 7:09 pm 31 Jan 10

Over in Belconnen they redid the bike paths about a year ago with a very rough surface, then laid another smoother surface over the top about 9 months later.

I wonder if the rough bitumen is just kind of an undercoat for the real thing you’ll get in the future?

AussieRodney 4:59 pm 31 Jan 10

While I too would love to see the job done properly the first time, I suspect the the ACT Government never has, & never will, have enough cash to do that, because it doesn’t have the population base to generate the quantity of cash that qualifies as “enough”.

dajala 4:35 pm 31 Jan 10

The new bike paths seem to be made of a ‘soft’ bitumen that already has big bike tyre grooves cut into it. I appreciate the intention to upgrade, but this is a FAIL.

Punter 3:57 pm 31 Jan 10

I too have noticed the resurfaced paths in Tuggers Madam. I’m not current on the benefits and disadvantages of laying bitumen on top of an existing surface, whether it be a road or a path. I would have thought if the foundation of the previous path were sound, there should not be any problem. I appreciate the existing bumps not being smoothed out is an unfortunate oversight. Also, a surface with better friction would be a safer surface, especially for bicycles with a narrow tyre footprint. Did you mean the new paths have less friction?

I think the plan to build a continuous road between Majura Road and the Monaro is a logical solution to that disasterous section of roadways.

MrPC 3:53 pm 31 Jan 10

You think Gunghalin has problems? Try driving up the Monaro Highway to the airport through Fyshwick every morning. Duplicating the Monaro from Canberra Avenue to Newcastle Street should be a way higher priority than duplicating the GDE or Majura Parkway.

(Thank $DEITY I moved to Queanbeyan and now use Oaks Estate Road to get into the Airport precinct the back way).

marty62 2:57 pm 31 Jan 10

It does seem like the entire south side of Canberra has had a bike path resurface. Generally I thought the job has been ok, by the poor standards of road surfacing here. It’s true that the tar has simply been rolled out over the top of existing paths, in some cases weeds already poking through.

But hey, I’m not complaining. It’s nice to get away from the onroad bike lanes and enjoy a quieter, traffic free ride to work.

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