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GDE 80 km/h speed limit – not compliant with AS 1742.4

By Sgt.Bungers 11 October 2011 71

gungahlin drive

I’ve written up an article on the GDE, and why the 80 km/h speed limit along much of the road from Mitchell to the Glenloch Interchange arguably does not comply with AS 1742.4 2.1.2(b). Read on below if interested.

“The extension to Gungahlin Drive (The Gungahlin Drive Extension, or GDE) has recently been completed. The new road will be a vital link between Canberra’s north and south. The completed road is of very good, near freeway quality, with no at grade intersections, give way/stop signs, traffic lights or private entrances.

The road had originally been designed to have a 90 km/h speed limit. However, the final road has been opened with a very unrealistic 80 km/h speed limit. With no intersections, any motorist attempting to travel the 9 km road at 80 km/h will inevitably slip over the speed limit by accident from time to time… some motorists will decide the speed limit is ridiculous and choose a speed that they perceive to be safe. The A.C.T Government decided to implement the 80 km/h speed limit after “following concerns about a lack of consistency of speed limits along the route

This surprised me, as never before this comment have I witnessed anything to suggest that the A.C.T Government is at all concerned about consistency along any route, street, or in any area. Plenty of examples of inconsistent speed limits can be found throughout this website. Canberra Avenue speed limits and speed limits throughout Campbell and Russell are perfect examples of inconsistent speed limits rife throughout the A.C.T’s road network.

Consistent speed limits is something that I am arguing for throughout the A.C.T, however implementing “consistent speed limits” does not mean putting the same speed limit along an entire length of road, despite the road type changing radically along its length. The northern end of Gungahlin Drive has frequent round abouts, is next to children’s playing fields, has a single carriageway, yet has a limit of 80 km/h… identical to speed limit on the near freeway grade of the Gungahlin Drive extension.

View Larger Map

This attempt by the A.C.T Government to employ consistent speed limits in the A.C.T has resulted in one of the most inconsistent speed limit situations Canberra has ever seen!

Thanks to the unrealistic speed limit, the A.C.T Government is guaranteeing that plenty of motorists will break the law, either unwittingly or intentionally. This is proven in this video:

Australian Standard 1742.4 Section 2.1.2 (b) states, that on any given stretch of road… “The speed limit shall not be so low that a significant number of drivers will not be able to understand the reason for it and hence tend not to observe it.” As per the above video, it’s quite apparent that nobody respects, or obeys the speed limit. Thus arguably rendering the entire 80 km/h speed limit on the Gungahlin Drive Extension, not compliant with Australian Standards.

Other roads in the A.C.T that have 80, 90 or 100 km/h speed limits are either of significantly lower quality than the completed Gunahlin Drive Extension, or are in an environment that should have a lower speed limit. For example, Gundaroo Drive. With a plethora of chaotic roundabouts, bus stops, traffic lights, lane merges, all within close proximity to residential areas, has an 80 km/h speed limit. Photo below:


Owen Dixon Drive is another example of a road with an 80 km/h speed limit, despite having bus stops, intersections, and houses immediately adjacent to the road.

In summary:

Given the above facts, I’m struggling to see how the decision to implement an 80 km/h speed limit on the Gungahlin Drive Extension (a limit which does not comply with AS 1742.4 2.1.2(b)) was not made to increase the revenue that the A.C.T. Government will make from speed camera fines.”

What’s Your opinion?

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71 Responses to
GDE 80 km/h speed limit – not compliant with AS 1742.4
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mr_wowtrousers 3:54 pm 18 Feb 12

Agreed 100%. I basically stick cruise control on because it feels almost impossible *not* to do over 80, the road is that good. At 80km/hr, I would say 85% of traffic going in the same direction overtakes me.

To back up the comments, I live around the Kambah/Wanniassa portion of Athlon Drive. Multiple lights and several roundabouts, 80km/hr. I was driving around my old area in Weetangera. Coulter Drv, full residential area with roundabouts – 80km/hr.

The limits on the GDE are bizarre.

pete74au 5:22 pm 17 Feb 12

Gungahlin has a very large voter base and at the last election there was a marked swing against Labor. This ridiculous state of affairs on ACT roads may trigger a further move. Even if you want to stay with your preferred party at least change the order to get rid of the ones that have perpetrated this injustice. The same can happen across the ACT as many road users are adversely impacted by the cretenous behaviour of the sub-contractors to the Minister responsible.

HenryBG 3:38 pm 17 Feb 12

Bobert said :

Had a good run this afternoon around 5pm from Tuggeranong Parkway all the way to Barton Highway. Last time I tried that (before it fully opened), I was stationary and it took about 45minutes. This time, it took about 10 mins max!

Yeah – I’ve had to drive between Tuggeranong and AIS a couple of times recently – less than 20 minutes, everybody’s doing at least 90km/h. Excellent.

RaTTyRaTT 2:43 pm 17 Feb 12

From my own (always biased) viewpoint, I will say that a slower speed results often in more lazy drivers, mixed with those who wish to go faster than the limit for their own reasons.

This mixes fast and slow on the roads, and invariably causes the mult-car accidents that often occur. it can be as simple as a less skilled, less observant person doing the wrong thing (ie: staying in the ‘right’ lane, because they have ‘always done it’ and it’s safer they believe!) Having travelled the GDE, I believe the minimum should be 90 or 100, in order to match with the continous traffic flow of Glenloch and the Parkway’s.
I am also all for driving to conditions (driving rain means ‘yes’ you too should slow down…) but otherwise, posted limit is too slow. If the government decided (in their weird lovable government way) to drop the limit on the parkway to 60 or 80. People would continue to speed. It’s inevitable. They would speed at 100, or their usual 110, or whatever. I agree with all those who say the ‘Law is an Ass’ in this case, and it does not do ‘itself’ justice in reducing the speed unduely.

peterepete 9:36 am 18 Oct 11

Non compliant. Give it a ticket

BicycleCanberra 11:29 pm 17 Oct 11

helium said :

As a cyclist who used to regularly use the GDE and have just ridden the last 2 days, I agree the speed limit should be 90 km/h. I don’t believe the 80km/h limits are due to the on road cycle lanes which are now more generous than when we had one lane.

According to

Arterial (dual carriageway) = 80km/h =

2.0m bicycle lanes, 2 x 3.5m traffic lanes, both carriageways (9.0m wide pavement)

Parkway = 100km/h = 2.5 – 3.0m bicycle lane, 2 x 3. 5m traffic lanes, 0.5-1.0m wide median shoulder (10.5-11.0m)

So without actually measuring I believe that the cycle lanes are parkway standard (with the exception of a few spots, around bridges), so 90km/h should be fine.

Of course can Canberra drivers merge in large volumes at 90km/h ?? maybe ? or maybe only if a speed camera at merge points (like Tugg parkway). No P-P cameras please…

As someone who used to ride from Kambah to Belconnen along the Tugg. Parkway, some of the shoulders are wide enough to be classed as cycle lanes but in all honesty this was a reckless thing to do and as cyclists shouldn’t settle for such poor infrastructure.
The Government should have spent a little bit extra to create physically protected cycle lanes if there was a need to provide them at all given that this only provides access to the Glenloche interchange from Gungahlin. If you were cycling to the city form Gungahlin you would obviously use Flemington road – Northbourne Ave ,off or on road.
A bicycle super high way( ) should have been built that keeps vulnerable road users (cyclists)well away from high speed traffic. This is international best practice, our design standards are about twenty to thirty years behind that.
Having said if you driving a motor vehicle,a 100kmh speed limit should be adequate for the Gungahlin section (GDE) to keep motorway speeds consistent.

Bobert 6:59 pm 17 Oct 11

Had a good run this afternoon around 5pm from Tuggeranong Parkway all the way to Barton Highway. Last time I tried that (before it fully opened), I was stationary and it took about 45minutes. This time, it took about 10 mins max!

Erg0 11:49 am 17 Oct 11

shadow boxer said :

It appears you are correct but there are some variables such as age of the vehicle.

That sounds about right. You’re right that the mere awareness of a possible inaccuracy is going to cause people to slow down too much, of course. I’ll soon be enjoying the P2P cameras on Hindmarsh Drive on a regular basis, so I’m definitely feeling your pain on this issue.

I had to laugh at the solar-powered signs on Hindmarsh over the weekend: “Average Speed Cameras / Coming Soon”. Putting aside the obvious joke, if I had the nous to reprogram those things it would soon read “Massive Clusterf*** / Coming Soon”.

shadow boxer 10:27 am 17 Oct 11

It appears you are correct but there are some variables such as age of the vehicle.

shadow boxer 10:13 am 17 Oct 11

You may be right, i’m happy to be corrected.

I’ll google it when I get a chance but my point was kind of the mixing of speeds.

Erg0 9:34 am 17 Oct 11

I was under the impression that the 10% tolerance was in an upwards direction – i.e. when your speedo says 80 you might really be doing as little as 72 (that’s assuming that 10% is even the real number, which I’m dubious of). I’ve read a few new car reviews that give the “actual speed at indicated 100km/h”, and it’s always in the 90s.

If your car’s speedo is showing a lower speed that you’re actually travelling, then I’d suggest that it needs fixing.

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