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Fixing the congestion on Pialligo Avenue.

By Tenpoints - 25 September 2013 24

I just sent the following email to roadsact@act.gov.au (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).

Starts Here…

The Question:

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?

The Problem:

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.

The Solution:

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. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

What’s Your opinion?


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24 Responses to
Fixing the congestion on Pialligo Avenue.
watto23 5:06 pm 26 Sep 13

IrishPete said :

watto23 said :

I guess the issue is that its congested by NSW residents using it to commute to Canberra, so I can see no reason why the ACT government would fix that road. The road works fine all other times of the day. Not sure whether the Majura Parkway will help or hinder the situation either.

Its not an us vs them thing, but I’d rather the ACT government fix issues that involve ACT residents in Canberra first. Its the reason NSW has never fixed the Kings highway as well. As they’d want Federal and ACT funding to assist.
There are pros and cons with every decision we make. Unfortunately for NSW residents roads into Canberra from NSW will not be a high priority.

Sorry, my previous comment quoted the wrong person.

In response to this one, I am not looking for any special treatment. I just think it is daft that two lanes of traffic exiting Brindabella Business Park are given priority over the major road they are entering. Likewise at Glenora, the traffic lights change to allow one car out, stopping scores in the process. I am not interested in the colour of the number plates. The people leaving Glenora to go west get trumped later on by the ones leaving BBP. Bad traffic/road planning. Causing congestion, pollution. Nobody wins.

IP

I agree nobody wins, because its all finger pointing by the government. Hell even roads wholly within the a state the blame just gets shifted to federal funding.

I tend to agree a roundabout would work, As i said the Majura parkway will change things, it may aid traffic bypassing a few intersections coming from the north, but it depends as more traffic tends to use the road when its better.

Innovation 4:38 pm 26 Sep 13

dks00k said :

Innovation said :

(It is frustrating that we don’t get rebates for toll roads that we use in Sydney)

Am I missing something here? Why is it that we should be entitled to a rebate for tolls paid on toll roads in NSW??

NSW residents can get a rebate for NSW registered vehicles using the M5. Admittedly it’s only one toll road but, if residents in rural NSW can get it, why shouldn’t ACT residents get it also.

dks00k 2:11 pm 26 Sep 13

Innovation said :

(It is frustrating that we don’t get rebates for toll roads that we use in Sydney)

Am I missing something here? Why is it that we should be entitled to a rebate for tolls paid on toll roads in NSW??

IrishPete 12:50 pm 26 Sep 13

watto23 said :

I guess the issue is that its congested by NSW residents using it to commute to Canberra, so I can see no reason why the ACT government would fix that road. The road works fine all other times of the day. Not sure whether the Majura Parkway will help or hinder the situation either.

Its not an us vs them thing, but I’d rather the ACT government fix issues that involve ACT residents in Canberra first. Its the reason NSW has never fixed the Kings highway as well. As they’d want Federal and ACT funding to assist.
There are pros and cons with every decision we make. Unfortunately for NSW residents roads into Canberra from NSW will not be a high priority.

Sorry, my previous comment quoted the wrong person.

In response to this one, I am not looking for any special treatment. I just think it is daft that two lanes of traffic exiting Brindabella Business Park are given priority over the major road they are entering. Likewise at Glenora, the traffic lights change to allow one car out, stopping scores in the process. I am not interested in the colour of the number plates. The people leaving Glenora to go west get trumped later on by the ones leaving BBP. Bad traffic/road planning. Causing congestion, pollution. Nobody wins.

IP

Innovation 11:56 am 26 Sep 13

Would toll roads between Queanbeyan and Canberra be more viable if NSW (and ACT) residents could get rebates on the tolls. Perhaps we could give NSW residents rebates if the NSW Government entered a reciprocal arrangement to give ACT residents rebates on NSW toll roads. (It is frustrating that we don’t get rebates for toll roads that we use in Sydney)

This political divide between NSW and ACT is very annoying. This year I’ve found out that I may have wasted about $3 grand in prior year education costs (and a lot of time) because the NSW Government has changed enrolment arrangements for at least some TAFE courses and non NSW residents can’t enroll in the new redesigned course.

IrishPete @ #7 – Your points are quite valid but I do have my doubts as to whether the funding between NSW and ACT is equitable for these cross border services.

IrishPete 8:56 am 26 Sep 13

watto23 said :

I guess the issue is that its congested by NSW residents using it to commute to Canberra, so I can see no reason why the ACT government would fix that road. The road works fine all other times of the day. Not sure whether the Majura Parkway will help or hinder the situation either.

Its not an us vs them thing, but I’d rather the ACT government fix issues that involve ACT residents in Canberra first. Its the reason NSW has never fixed the Kings highway as well. As they’d want Federal and ACT funding to assist.
There are pros and cons with every decision we make. Unfortunately for NSW residents roads into Canberra from NSW will not be a high priority.

A roundabout would still stop the westbound traffic for one car coming out of Glenora Avenue. Unless it was a two-lane roundabout or, even better, a roundabout with a bypass for westbound traffic. You could probably install such a bypass now around the lights, for very little money.

IP

watto23 8:54 am 26 Sep 13

I guess the issue is that its congested by NSW residents using it to commute to Canberra, so I can see no reason why the ACT government would fix that road. The road works fine all other times of the day. Not sure whether the Majura Parkway will help or hinder the situation either.

Its not an us vs them thing, but I’d rather the ACT government fix issues that involve ACT residents in Canberra first. Its the reason NSW has never fixed the Kings highway as well. As they’d want Federal and ACT funding to assist.
There are pros and cons with every decision we make. Unfortunately for NSW residents roads into Canberra from NSW will not be a high priority.

EvanJames 11:32 pm 25 Sep 13

The lights at Glenora were installed relatively recently. It used to be a T-intersection and cars trying to exit the old Fairbairn RAAF base to head towards Canberra had a long wait.

A roundabout would have been a better solution, but instead they installed these dreadful traffic lights, so one car gets to bring hundreds to a standstill, and then the traffic backs up, back into Queanbeyan. I remember the first day the lights were operational, everyone assumed there’d been a crash.

It’s not just Queanbeyan traffic, of course, it’s traffic from as far out as Braidwood and Tarago. The Goulburn traffic comes in on the Federal hwy although some apparently come in on Sutton Rd and join Pialligo ave there. Others use Majura Rd but it backs up horribly too.

Fact is, the roads are overloaded as the population explodes. Population growth is wonderful and brings many blessings, they tell us. Meanwhile, someone’s got to pay millions to fix the roads.

as for tolls, uh-huh. And Canberrans can pay tolls to LEAVE the territory on OUR roads. what a silly argument.

IrishPete 9:57 pm 25 Sep 13

bigred said :

a perfect argument for tollgates at the border. Until NSW pays the true price for the ACT facilities used by the bogans from over the border this thought bubble will get no where.

Happy to add tollgates to the King’s Highway, Barton Highway, Monaro Highway, and Macs Reef Road and Bungendore Road.

The OP probably already pays taxes in ACT through payroll, business taxes, through buying things (GST and supporting ACT-ratepaying businesses), and also because the NSW government contributes to schools and hospitals.

I am not sure that SnowTown actually pays much to the ACT Government either.

IP

MrPC 9:39 pm 25 Sep 13

One thing I’d like to see is the addition of another 2 (or 3) 100 speed limit signs westbound from the concrete recycling plant near Glenora Drive to the overtaking lane. The number of f-wits sitting on 80 because they noticed the jump from 70 to 80 at Glenora but not the jump from 80 to 100 after the concrete recycling plant is infuriating 24 hours a day.

bigred 8:13 pm 25 Sep 13

a perfect argument for tollgates at the border. Until NSW pays the true price for the ACT facilities used by the bogans from over the border this thought bubble will get no where.

damien haas 6:59 pm 25 Sep 13

*you* are adding to the congestion OP

IrishPete 6:55 pm 25 Sep 13

You make some good points – those traffic lights are ridiculous.

But whoever designed the road upgrades around the Business Park should be taken out and shot. It should have been dual lane all the way through, it would have cost very little extra at the time, but will cost a lot more now. And they also should get rid of the ridiculous system that allows traffic exiting the Business Park to turn right from either lane – this stops the city-bound traffic at the roundabouts, which is not what roundabouts are for. (It’s also dangerous as 99.99% of roundabouts don’t allow this, so people assume they can drive straight through…) Make them right lane to turn right, left lane to turn left (there is no straight on), and city-bound traffic in the left lane can keep flowing.

In my opinion it is a combination of these issues that makes the area so poor for city bound traffic in peak hour. I’ve never experienced it as bad heading towards Queanbeyan in the afternoons.

I don’t think the road east of Glenora Drive is a problem at all. It is Glenora Drive and west of it that is the problem.

IP

wildturkeycanoe 6:52 pm 25 Sep 13

You obviously weren’t part of the heated debate when Queanbeyan got flooded and the only road in to Canberra was Canberra Ave just a few weeks ago. Just saying, apparently others who traverse the border for work have no issue with congestion, because it is sooo good over the other side. Everyone in Canberra has issues with traffic, get over it.

screaming banshee 6:19 pm 25 Sep 13

Are you prepared to pay a toll at the border?

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