I just sent the following email to firstname.lastname@example.org (given on advice from CanberraConnect). I’m about to become a homeowner in Queanbeyan, so this is plainly a selfish interest. But it’s a selfish interest that would benefit several thousand other people who commute from Queanbeyan into Civic/Belconnen/Gunghalin daily by the only viable transit method currently available (Catching the bus is $14 return).
With increasing development in Queanbeyan I was wondering if the ACT has anything in the pipeline with respect to upgrading Pialligo Avenue to improve peak volume capacity to and from Queanbeyan-Canberra Airport?
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In brief, I claim the main issue that is holding up Pialligo Avenue is the traffic lights at Glenora Drive. More details below…
In preface, I will state as part of my view that this is a distinctly separate issue to any roadworks that are ongoing with respect to the turning lane upgrade at Fairbairn Avenue or the construction of the Majura Parkway.
I see on a regular basis during morning rush hour, a motor vehicle queue that stretches from the relatively new traffic lights at Queanbeyan all the way back to Yass Road in Queanbeyan. It can take approximately 30-45 minutes to clear this section plus the normal time to get into the city. During non-peak times you can get from Queanbeyan to Civic via Yass road in under 20 minutes driving.
In the case of evening rush hour, the traffic is a little faster but there are niggling issues like the split to two lanes west of Glenora drive, then merge to one lane east of Glenora, which seems to encourage less responsible members of the community to engage in risky overtake and merge manoeuvres. The overtaking lane up the hill also causes congestion at the merge point in the evening. Lastly, the split merge at the roundabouts can occasionally lead to issues similar to any form one lane.
The morning problem with Pialligo avenue seems to stem from:
- The traffic lights at Glenora drive, which reduce the throughput of the road to below the flow needed to achieve acceptable peak hour speeds.
The evening problem with Pialligo avenue is -to my mind- contributed to by these factors, in addition to the traffic lights:
- The form one lane on either side of the southern roundabout to Brindabella Business Park.
- The eastbound form one lane east of the Glenora Drive lights.
- The eastbound overtaking lane merge just over the hill.
The backlog creates issues at the Oaks Estate turnoff with a significant queue down that road. The only reason those cars get onto the Pialligo Road in the morning is due to an occasional show of common courtesy by right-of-way drivers.
There is also a Quarry on the south side of the road just east of the Glenora drive. Trucks often exit this quarry during morning peak hour, and it must be difficult for the drivers due to the solid line of cars created by the congestion.
If I remember correctly, the Glenora Drive lights were installed before Pialligo Avenue was upgraded to Canberra Airport, but after the Brindabella Business Park was started. In that way the traffic was already banked up from the airport so the congestion was already bad enough that the lights did not have any further effect on the flow. I think the Glenora Drive lights need to be upgraded as a matter of priority to expand their throughput capacity for traffic between Queanbeyan and Canberra.
In brief, I suggest that you need to upgrade the Traffic Lights at Glenora drive to improve motor vehicle throughput at peak times. More details below…
- 1. Cheap short term option:
Fixes the morning commute in the short-medium term:
1.1 Add a westbound slip lane around the Glenora drive traffic lights, like a small scale version of Macarthur Avenue -> Belconnen Avenue (westbound). Traffic turning right from Glenora drive onto Pialligo would merge into peak hour traffic without completely stopping the flow while the lights do their cycle for the one (usually) merging car.
1.2 In terms of the Quarry trucks, increased traffic flow might make it more difficult to negotiate right hand turns. In that case, 2.2 may be necessary to implement.
- 2. Expensive Medium Term Option:
Fixes morning and evening commute in the medium term.
2.1 Duplicate Pialligo avenue in both directions from the form one lane south of the northern roundabout, round the bottom of the airport and through the Glenora drive traffic lights, merging to one lane each way just after the Quarry.
2.2 Build a right turn slip lane at the Quarry similar to the Oaks Estate junction to improve safety of Heavy Vehicles turning eastbound onto Pialligo.
- 3. More expensive Long term Option:
3.1 Duplicate Pialligo Avenue all the way back to Yass Road in Queanbeyan. Probably overkill at the moment, but I anticipate it will be a lot more viable if the Ellerton Drive Extension gets built.