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

Ian Bushnell 13 March 2019 54

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

    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.

    2:20 pm 14 Apr 19

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

    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??

10:09 pm 13 Mar 19

"However if the road is painted rainbow colours and paid for out of charity money stolen by his thieving NGO "Hands across Canberra" Barr will fully support it"

10:00 pm 13 Mar 19

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

9:09 pm 13 Mar 19

Here I was thinking Labor wanted to create jobs.

8:52 pm 13 Mar 19 a nature reserve....may it a's currently a gravel fireroad used for recreation....

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....

    1:23 pm 14 Mar 19

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

    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

    1:56 pm 30 Mar 19

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

    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.

8:25 pm 13 Mar 19

It would be a complete disaster to put that between those suburbs & the hills. It goes further than the red line of the map. It extends all the way behind Campbell to Fairbain Ave

8:17 pm 13 Mar 19

Leave it there. We might actually need it one day

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 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”.

7:27 pm 13 Mar 19

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

7:25 pm 13 Mar 19

Chris steel is such a gem

7:20 pm 13 Mar 19

Maglev cable cars. Let's go!

6:57 pm 13 Mar 19

Once the ACT Govt figures out how to make it a revenue grabbing toll road they'll be all for it!

6:54 pm 13 Mar 19

It’s not even in the pipeline why is this even an issue right now?

    7:39 pm 13 Mar 19

    Cos of things, man. And stuff. Get with the goddamn program already

    8:19 pm 13 Mar 19

    Because our duly elected 'tards want to sell it off before it's needed.

    They call it planning which is something that this government does not do well.

6:25 pm 13 Mar 19

we need a decent road to replace Northbourne, which is a nightmare now and only going to get worst. First bike lanes shrunk all the lanes for road users and now this 1940s transport system has wrecked traffic flow and its not even operating yet.

    7:16 pm 13 Mar 19

    Colin Wilson really? Righto...

    1:21 pm 14 Mar 19

    The only way to stop traffic congestion is to stop driving cars. More and wider roads just makes more congestion as it enables more drivers. Why would you want to replace a Northbourne with another problem when our current model of road use is broken?

6:23 pm 13 Mar 19

James Baker why would you not build this road? It sounds like a great idea.

6:17 pm 13 Mar 19

build that road.

6:15 pm 13 Mar 19

So we want density and infill in the city centre and surrounds but rule out the possibility of what looks like (at least in appearance) part of a future ring road.

6:15 pm 13 Mar 19

Walter Burley Griffin (remember him?) had a plan for what is now called Monash Drive.

Griffin’s plan was for that route to be a rail line from Civic to what is now Gungahlin and on to Yass.

If the ACT Government was really trying to follow Griffin’s plan for a rail service to Gungahlin, they would have used this route.

One understands that the ACT Government panders to property developers and folks in inner Canberra. Hence they ignored Griffin’s plan for the rail line to Gungahlin.

But deleting part of Griffin’s plan from the map of Canberra is a step too far.

    7:15 pm 13 Mar 19

    Peter McArdle yes rail not road! But yes it is a fair point, should be a reserved rail corridor. I think the Griffin plan also had a extensive tram network including up northbourne to Dickson.

    10:38 pm 13 Mar 19

    Rail might have been a popular idea in 1911 when Burley Griffin was drawing up a plan. There were probably some considerations given for the Horse and Cart as well, but it’s 2019 not 1919. Too little too late and an obscene waste of tax payers money.

    9:59 pm 15 Jun 19

    Colin Wilson, touche

6:07 pm 13 Mar 19

NCA is a time wasting joke

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