Fixing the congestion on Pialligo Avenue.

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.


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24 Responses to Fixing the congestion on Pialligo Avenue.
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rosscoact rosscoact 1:43 pm 14 Oct 13

Seeing the Commonwealth is solely responsible for the approval of the development on the airport site and the airport designed the road system upgrade that is currently there, possibly a level of responsibility jointly lays there?

thebrownstreak69 thebrownstreak69 1:25 pm 14 Oct 13

watto23 said :

It needs to be a jointly funded road, much like Tharwa drive to Monaro was.

+1. It’s the only sensible solution.

A_Cog A_Cog 1:07 pm 14 Oct 13

The Majura Parkway is currently costed at $288m, and Majura Road currently “carries around 18,000 vehicles a day, of which 2,800 are commercial or heavy freight vehicles.”

Currently, Queanbeyan is a town of about 42,000 people, with a whole bunch of businesses like those in East Queanbeyan. By 2030, Queanbeyan’s population will rise to 60,000, and I’d expect the industrial development in Quangers to be massive, as the NSW Government and Queanbeyan Council already realises they can piggy-back on the ACT’s growth and grow Queanbeyan into a pretty-fair sized regional city without battling through the lightweight ACT Government or suffering from ACT NIMBY-ism. Just look at where East Queanbeyan’s industrial estate goes up to now: right up to the ACT/NSW border!

Pialligo Avenue should already be 2 lanes each way all the way (as should Sutton Road), but we’ll be waiting decades for something to be done by the ACT Government.

Tenpoints Tenpoints 12:36 pm 14 Oct 13

watto23 said :

The issue is even if QCC/NSW could afford to pay for it, I think many non Queanbeyan, NSW residents would be pissed off with this. It needs to be a jointly funded road, much like Tharwa drive to Monaro was.

Also I completely agree, all these developments get built without a lot of consideration for roads. That was one grip I had with Tralee. The solution with traffic there is to pump it out onto the Monaro highway! That road has annoying bottlenecks and lights that bank up the main flow of traffic to allow a few users onto it. probably needs an expensive overpass intersection, but it won’t get built.

Yes, I guess on a state scale it needs to be weighed up against a bunch of other major routes like the Kings Highway, Barton Highway, other roads around Sydney and anywhere else where people drive.

I guess since no-one has been killed on that stretch in living memory it’s already pretty low on the priority list.

Yes, a lot of subdivisions get built first and then “oh wait, the roads are now terrible” happens, when new residents start complaining about commute times. It’s hardly surprising that cross-border roads get minimum attention paid to them if most of the time roads within the territory are upgraded years after the developments are commissioned.

I’m going to write to the QCC and try and get the ball rolling on some sort of action plan for Pialligo Avenue.

watto23 watto23 11:13 am 14 Oct 13

Tenpoints said :

Never mind about this ridiculous cross border rivalry. This could be a simple transaction deal. Obviously the upgrade of the road is of far greater benefit to interstate residents than Canberrans, so yeah it’s a raw deal if we were to feel entitled to a free road upgrade courtesy of ACTgovernment. If QCC pays ACTgov to do the upgrade then there’s no need for animosity.

The construction of a Jerrabomberra sized housing development at Googong will create even greater pressure on Pialligo Avenue in the future. I’m trying to see if anyone else is thinking beyond the “Oh it’s in the ACT, let them handle it” mentality.

The issue is even if QCC/NSW could afford to pay for it, I think many non Queanbeyan, NSW residents would be pissed off with this. It needs to be a jointly funded road, much like Tharwa drive to Monaro was.

Also I completely agree, all these developments get built without a lot of consideration for roads. That was one grip I had with Tralee. The solution with traffic there is to pump it out onto the Monaro highway! That road has annoying bottlenecks and lights that bank up the main flow of traffic to allow a few users onto it. probably needs an expensive overpass intersection, but it won’t get built.

Tenpoints Tenpoints 11:04 am 14 Oct 13

Never mind about this ridiculous cross border rivalry. This could be a simple transaction deal. Obviously the upgrade of the road is of far greater benefit to interstate residents than Canberrans, so yeah it’s a raw deal if we were to feel entitled to a free road upgrade courtesy of ACTgovernment. If QCC pays ACTgov to do the upgrade then there’s no need for animosity.

On a broader scope to my original post, I must say that the road is generally in pretty shoddy condition. Here’s a few more gripes:

-Every side road east of Glenora (Sutton Road, Oaks Estate, the Quarry) gets heavily backed up in the morning, lending impatient drivers to take dangerous risks pulling out into heavy traffic.

-The cycle lane on each side is pretty rubbish. Generally poor surface; littered with glass, debris and the occasional pothole. The bridge just before the railway line has no shoulder whatsoever.

-The eastbound speed limit changes from 70 to 80 to 100 in the space of 300 metres. Most people seem to see 70 or 80 and stick to that. Westbound also is more often 80 than 100.

The construction of a Jerrabomberra sized housing development at Googong will create even greater pressure on Pialligo Avenue in the future. I’m trying to see if anyone else is thinking beyond the “Oh it’s in the ACT, let them handle it” mentality.

OpenYourMind OpenYourMind 10:18 pm 02 Oct 13

I work in the Fairbairn business district and the Glenora lights were strongly lobbied for.

I cycle a couple of days a week and turning right from Glenora Drive to Pialligo Ave I am always super careful as this set of lights is notorious for red light runners. The other day I got the green and a semi trailer came thundering through the red….follow a few car lengths later by a car. And people bitch about cyclists going through red lights!

Dear AFP: Pls conduct a patrol for West bound red light runners at this intersection between 3 and 5pm. And yeah, book any cyclists who run red lights too.

dks00k dks00k 7:19 pm 02 Oct 13

Innovation said :

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.

Because we aren’t NSW residents and more importantly, we don’t pay vehicle registration fees to the NSW government. By your reckoning, all motorists in Australia should be eligible for the rebate unless of course you consider the ACT to be part of NSW?

Robertson Robertson 5:09 pm 26 Sep 13

Innovation said :

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.

Because we get free use of that wonderful arterial route down to the Bay.

watto23 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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