Federal Government urged to take North Canberra ‘ghost road’ off the map

Ian Bushnell 13 March 2019 58

The ACT Government has asked that the ‘ghost road’ be taken off the map. Image: Google maps.

It’s a road going nowhere but the National Capital Authority refuses to take it off the map.

Now the ACT Government is calling on the Federal Government to intervene so the proposed Monash Drive, which this Government says it will never build, never becomes a reality.

Minister for Roads Chris Steel says the NCA has rejected the Government’s request that the road – which would take a 4km route along the western foothills of Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie, from Antill Street to the North and Fairbairn Avenue to the South – be removed from the National Capital Plan.

The road was envisioned to act as a bypass around inner Canberra but the Government says it is no longer required due to other major road corridors being constructed, and would impact on the surrounding nature reserves.

Mr Steel said that the Government wrote to the NCA last year requesting an amendment of the National Capital Plan to reflect the corridor as a key environmental and active travel corridor, but the NCA recently wrote to refuse to amend the Plan.

Chief executive Sally Barnes told the ACT that it was premature to remove the road alignment until a number of planning initiatives that would affect traffic flows were completed and implemented such as the Government’s Transport Strategy, light rail stages 1 and 2, the City and Gateway plan and the Northbourne Avenue Landscape Plan.

She said the possible reduction in car use and increases in population density also needed to be taken into account.

“Once the impacts of all these matters are fully understood and realised, a revised impact assessment report incorporating long-term policy settings and describing full environment impacts can be prepared,” she said.

Ms Barnes said leaving Monash Drive in the Plan did not commit the Government to building the road, but it did future-proof the arterial road network if it were required at a later date.

But Mr Steel called on the Federal Government to overturn the decision and protect the bush capital.

“This is an environmentally damaging, unnecessary, and expensive road and it should never be built,” he said.

“While we are in Government we will never build Monash Drive and we want to prevent future Territory and Federal Governments from doing so by removing this fictitious road from the map.”

Mr Steel said Monash Drive could have a significant environmental impact on sensitive ecological elements, including Yellow Box / Red Gum Grassy Woodland and threatened species like the little eagle and superb parrot. There were also numerous Indigenous heritage sites along the proposed corridor which could be impacted.

Local Member for Kurrajong Rachel Stephen-Smith said that inner north residents wanted certainty that this road would no longer be built in the nature reserve behind them.

“The residents of Watson, Hackett, Ainslie, Campbell, and Reid have a strong connection to Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie and value the bush right on their doorstep,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“Those who live near the proposed corridor have also expressed concern about noise and extra traffic causing disruption to many suburbs.

“Rather than an unnecessary major road, a future shared path for walking and cycling along the corridor makes sense, and wouldn’t substantially impact on the nature reserve.”

Minister Steel said that with the completion of Majura Parkway, the upcoming completion of Stage 1 light rail on Northbourne Avenue and the full duplication of Gungahlin Drive, plans for Monash Drive were no longer needed.

The ACT Greens, which negotiated with Labor in 2008 to abandon Monash Drive as part of the Parliamentary Agreement, urged the NCA to reverse its decision and take the ‘ghost road’ off the map.

“The National Capital Authority has again reneged on its commitment to Canberra by refusing to take this last century ‘ghost road’ off the map,” Greens Member for Kurrajong Shane Rattenbury said.

“The Greens have argued for the abandonment of Monash Drive for many years. Following the 2008 election, we required Labor to abandon this road through our Parliamentary Agreement.

“The NCA needs to get with the times. We simply don’t need a new major road built through North Canberra’s suburbs. This is not the time to build last century’s roads to meet this century’s needs.”


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58 Responses to Federal Government urged to take North Canberra ‘ghost road’ off the map
Gilavon Gilavon 3:05 pm 21 Aug 19

The road reserve should be maintained. Carrying capacity of the tram system is limited, future growth of Gungahlin and environs will see increased moveh traffic. Northbourne is close to saturation, residents of Watson, Downer etc are already fed up with the rat run. That road will be needed sooner rather than later.

Tiger Fit Tiger Fit 9:36 pm 15 Jun 19

Im with you it should be removed as a road , it is a reserve lets have some areas that are not for sale .

Shaun Canning Shaun Canning 3:53 pm 30 Apr 19

Could have built it (even as a dedicated express bus Route) and to help with Northbourne congestion. Maybe when we are long gone, someone will put it back on the map.

Rosie Cooney Rosie Cooney 2:19 pm 14 Apr 19

This road should never be built and should be removed from the maps. This is a very valued and heavily used active travel corridor, including for many kids to get to school without having to deal with traffic, and an intrinsic part of the nature reserve.

stephen hodgkin stephen hodgkin 9:47 pm 12 Apr 19

Its not only a shame that it wasn’t consisered for the light rail especially considering the imoact the rail is already having, but at the least it should be considered as a way to give cyclists a real alternative to risking their lives on northbourn.
It could be a great altrrnative for gungahlin cycling commuters

    JC JC 5:33 pm 04 Aug 19

    It was never a viable route for light rail.

    Said it many times before light rail is about serving what is along the route not as a point to point service.

Gilavon Gilavon 4:09 pm 30 Mar 19

The expectation that motor vehicle use will decline is a pipe dream. If the population of the ACT is to continue to grow along the lines enunciated by our town council so too will moveh use. Can’t have one without the other. Public transport can only cope with so much. Relying on the light rail to relieve transport pressure will only be effective in the short term, the light rail is restricted to a fixed route. Sooner or later Monash Drive will be necessary.

M M M M 6:22 am 29 Mar 19

The NCA’s relevance to Canberra long sailed. It’s time the Feds reduce its importance to the Parliamentary Triangle and let Canberra be run by its own self government.

    Gilavon Gilavon 4:19 pm 30 Mar 19

    But … but … self government isn’t working. So all power to the NCA I say.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 7:46 pm 14 Mar 19

Monash drive runs all the way through a foothill that is rare and precious remnant dry sclerophyll forest, and it shouldn’t be on the books still.

    Gilavon Gilavon 4:18 pm 30 Mar 19

    So we don’t have any dry sclerophyll anywhere else in the region? Look around.

    Stuart Hartley Stuart Hartley 5:14 pm 07 Apr 19

    But it sounds exotic and scientific

Henry Thomson Henry Thomson 5:34 pm 14 Mar 19

When someone decides trains and cars don’t mix, and a metro under northbourne is considered too costly, this could make a possible rail corridor.

John Moulis John Moulis 4:13 pm 14 Mar 19

My aunt and uncle owned the house in Truscott St Campbell which borders Monash Drive. My uncle’s vegetable garden intruded onto the corridor, and when we moved to Canberra in 1970 they showed us the letter from 1967 saying that the Department of the Interior would be reclaiming half their yard to build Monash Drive.

Fast forward to 2011 when my cousin bought the house again. I asked her where Monash Drive had gone. Looks like Uncle Samuel’s vege garden will be around for a lot longer.

Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 1:17 pm 14 Mar 19

It's already a road, just not a road for cars!? Road = public space, it should not have to exclusively consider accommodating cars. I.e. leave it as it is and as all roads where 150ya before we got slack and decided that we all need to drive around in a car. Check out the history of the term jaywalker...

Paul Kitson Paul Kitson 11:52 pm 13 Mar 19

I thought the north Canberra NIMBYs had this changed years. Clearly GB and her little band of monkeys didn’t get it right. Coming from Gungahlin I have a vested interest in having an additional route to civic but frankly as long as the NIMBYs do mind the traffic through the inner north I’m comfortable either way.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:09 pm 14 Apr 19

    Paul Kitson Monash Drive was a city bypass not a route to the city.

    Tiger Fit Tiger Fit 9:57 pm 15 Jun 19

    Paul Kitson , we dont need an additional road , canberra drivers just need to learn how to drive on the existing roads.

    Paul Kitson Paul Kitson 10:04 pm 15 Jun 19

    Tiger Fit agreed as long a those in inner north Canberra are happy with Gungahlin residents using Officer crescent, Majura ave etc. it was my understanding that they were not happy with this state of affairs? Happy if they are!

    Paul Kitson Paul Kitson 10:06 pm 15 Jun 19

    Ashley Wright no it wasn’t. In 1993 it was alternate route to Civic.

Andrea Lloyd Andrea Lloyd 10:58 pm 13 Mar 19

I think this road would be of great be benefit to Canberrans and would help with traffic congestion on Northbourne Ave. Why hasn’t it been constructed yet?

    Paul Kitson Paul Kitson 11:53 pm 13 Mar 19

    Andrea Lloyd it was supposed to happen in the mid 90s but a bunch of inner north NIMBYs stopped it.

    Rosie Cooney Rosie Cooney 2:20 pm 14 Apr 19

    Andrea Lloyd because it is already of huge benefit to the people that live here and use it?

    Tiger Fit Tiger Fit 9:43 pm 15 Jun 19

    Andrea Lloyd this would not be of any benefit to Canberran's . If you cant manage Northbourne or Limestone Ave for 30 mins travel at the most to anywhere in the ACT then you are the problem??

    Jas Albury Jas Albury 5:11 pm 04 Aug 19

    leave the proposed route , It may be needed, a good fence along the sides and a service road on the high side for recreational uses and underpasses to access them , get planting and green solutions underway early , it will help future larger populations for a successful Canberra and sustain wildlife also, Canberra will be double the size quite quickly

    Andrea Lloyd Andrea Lloyd 5:30 pm 04 Aug 19

    Rosie Cooney you are talking about Monash Drive aren’t, supposed to be constructed on Ainslie side of Mt Ainslie. The article isn’t referring to Majura Parkway.

    Andrea Lloyd Andrea Lloyd 5:35 pm 04 Aug 19

    Tiger Fit it would divert traffic from “rat runs” through the suburbs, especially Ebden St. I think it’s a great idea and yes I can manage Northbourne or Limestone or even catch the tram. 😁

    Andrea Lloyd Andrea Lloyd 5:36 pm 04 Aug 19

    Paul Kitson seems there’s still a few around 😁

Ben Jones Ben Jones 10:00 pm 13 Mar 19

How much time and money has been spent on this trivial garbage by the ACT government ...

Liz Hampton Liz Hampton 9:09 pm 13 Mar 19

Here I was thinking Labor wanted to create jobs.

Craig Elliott Craig Elliott 8:52 pm 13 Mar 19

Agree....it a nature reserve....may it a cycleway....it's currently a gravel fireroad used for recreation....

Ancel Earle Ancel Earle 8:48 pm 13 Mar 19

Tom Cameron Jeremy Otto Samuel Ian It would be a travesty if this got built. No more clear skied star gazing from the base of the mountain at night, no easy access for walks and rides on the mountains. Then there’s the increased noise and carbon pollution, and a guaranteed increase in wildlife (kangaroo) roadkill....

    Phillip Scharf Phillip Scharf 1:23 pm 14 Mar 19

    It would be heart breaking as it's already fantastic "road" in the state that its in

    Daryl Crandell Daryl Crandell 1:14 pm 30 Mar 19

    Are you serious!! Increased roadkill, the ACT already kulls pests like kangaroos & they need to increase the number they kill each year

    Ancel Earle Ancel Earle 1:56 pm 30 Mar 19

    Controlled culls are one thing, random animal to vehicle accidents entirely different.

    Tiger Fit Tiger Fit 9:52 pm 15 Jun 19

    Daryl Crandell kangaroos aren't pests and i disagree with culling them , they actually belong here where as you Daryl sound like a narrow minded 4 wheeler spotlighted bumper bar tool that actually has no idea.

Tim Cole Tim Cole 8:17 pm 13 Mar 19

Leave it there. We might actually need it one day

chewy14 chewy14 7:32 pm 13 Mar 19

Why does the ACT government want to reduce the flexibility of future planning options?

No one is saying “build it now” but keeping your options open is part of any good long term planning.

Actually now I know why they want it removed.

    Gilavon Gilavon 4:14 pm 30 Mar 19

    “Planner” is nowadays only a hypothetical concept: “I’m going to uni to get a degree in planning”, has superseded the previously trendoid favourite: “I’m going to uni to get a degree in architecture”.

Steve Ulr Steve Ulr 7:27 pm 13 Mar 19

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why the concept of ACT government is nothing but a joke.

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