The next step in the long-promised duplication of Athllon Drive is being taken with the release of a tender for the detailed design of the northern section of the key southside arterial road.
The Athllon Drive upgrade was first promised at the 2016 election and again in 2020 but is now unlikely to be completed before 2027.
In 2020, Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel said the full duplication would cost $75 million and be completed by 2025, with construction taking three years.
It will proceed in two stages – the 3 km southern section between Drakeford Drive and Sulwood Drive in Tuggeranong and the 0.6 km northern section between Shea Street and Melrose Drive in Phillip.
Funding for a concept design for the unduplicated sections of Athllon Drive was included in the 2019-20 budget and the government announced that work in 2020.
The concept design was for all modes of transport including light rail and to improve the road for the rapid bus routes.
The 2020-21 budget included funding for the detailed design work, and a tender for the southern section was released late last year, with construction due to start next year.
Mr Steel said the detailed design was already well underway on the first stage of the Athllon Drive upgrade between Sulwood Drive and Drakeford Drive, to support the 14,000 vehicles travelling on this road each day.
As well as the extra lanes, it is hoped that the northern section will include a dedicated bus lane northbound to the Hindmarsh Drive intersection, subject to reasonable cost.
The upgrade aims to ease traffic flows, reduce congestion, and provide access to the new residential development nearby and the new Woden Bus Depot, where electric buses will be housed.
It will also include active travel and intersection improvements, such as path upgrades to improve access to bus stops.
Mr Steel said early works to enable access to the new bus depot, including at the intersection of Athllon Drive and Shea Street, will start next year ahead of major construction on the northern section expected from 2025.
The government will seek community feedback next year when proposed intersection upgrades, public transport, and active travel improvements and landscaping will be on display prior to the planning approval processes.
“One of the key reasons we are augmenting the capacity of this road is because it is a key public transport corridor and the upgrades will support the new Woden bus depot as traffic on the corridor grows,” Mr Steel said.
“Congestion on our road network doesn’t just impact our road users – our public buses move through these corridors as well. Increased congestion reduces the efficiency of these services and therefore the desirability of using public transport. This is at the forefront of planning for these upgrades.”
The full duplication project is being jointly funded with the Federal Government.