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GDE to be a wonder of the earth?

By johnboy 7 September 2011 63

The Liberals’ Alistair Coe is having some fun comparing the construction time of the soon to be completed Gungahlin Drive Extension with other major construction projects.

“Of the ten years since ACT Labor came to power, approximately seven years have been spent with the road under construction.

“This is in contrast to the span of the Sydney Harbour Bridge which was built almost 80 years ago within four years.

“The 40 kilometre Westlink M7 freeway, a major piece of NSW infrastructure which includes 38 overpasses and underpasses, was completed in two years.

“The 2.8 kilometre Sydney Harbour Tunnel took only four years to complete.

“In Victoria, the 22 kilometre Melbourne City Link, one of the city’s major arterial roads, was completed in four years.

I think Alistair needs to broaden his imagination with this exercise.

So Rioters, what other things were built in under seven years?

I’d like to start with the Temple of Solomon.


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GDE to be a wonder of the earth?
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Skyring 11:01 am 01 Oct 11

As a cabbie, I could always be assured of a brisk conversation if the subject of the GDE was raised. A textbook case for project managers and politicians of how not to do things.

The money wasted, first by the NIMBY court case(s) and then by the delayed duplication, could have been spent on useful public needs, such as health or schools or other roadworks. Building the thing with one lane in each direction was a false economy.

But blaming external factors only goes so far. Just what the hell were they thinking of when they put in the Aranda access? That’s got to be the most stupid intersection in Canberra.

As for Gridloch Interchange, at least it now operates without traffic lights, but I honestly can’t see it working well when Molonglo really gets going. Cotter Road will be a nightmare at peak hours.

Cloverleaf intersections are things of the past. They might look pretty, but they just don’t work under load because you’ve got conflicting traffic flows trying to use the same bit of road. An example is the northernmost lane of Parkes Way under Commonwealth Avenue. However, Glenloch isn’t quite complete – coming south from Gungahlin/Belco, you can’t turn right to go west towards what will be the northern suburbs of Molonglo. That’s going to be an interesting piece of road to slot into what is going to be a very busy interchange.

LSWCHP 8:58 pm 08 Sep 11

Spectra said :

p1 said :

Spectra said :

The bulk of the US’s first trans-continental railroad (aka “The Overland Route”) took 6 years and totalled 2860 km, including through terrain considerably more challenging than O’Conner Ridge 😉 Though I think it was probably subject to considerably less law-suits.

Being able to legally shoot the equivalent of locals protesting probably streamlined the process somewhat.

Totally, although the locals here mounted far fewer horse-back attacks and rarely resorted to scalping 🙂

Scalping! Now there’s a thought!

LSWCHP 8:56 pm 08 Sep 11

p1 said :

Captain RAAF said :

The Maginot Line,one of the most complex constructions of its time took 9 years to build and stretched across the entire French border with Germany….pity they forgot the bit next to Belgium…….

Are you suggesting that, rather then using the GDE, it would be quicker and easier to drive through Belgium and defeat the French army?

You are probably right.

Without a doubt. A mate from my days in the green machine joined the fabled French Foreign Legion. After doing his enlistment (7 years I think) he was rather disillusioned. I recall him saying that a bunch of school cadets in a bad mood could’ve cut through his unit like a chainsaw through toilet paper.

Tomorrow I intend to drive to work in Fyshwick via Belgium. The French Army should step aside.

enrique 5:25 pm 08 Sep 11

Keijidosha said :

A stacked interchange would have been expensive, but I believe necessary when you consider that the development of Molonglo will be pitching thousands more cars at Glenloch in the near future.

Completely agree – it’s not like traffic numbers will be going down! It’s hard to believe that someone actually decided that single lane transitions into and out of the city direction from multi-lane sources were wise. What it’s even more bizarre is that other people signed off on the design.

Sometimes the decision makers really do need to get out of Canberra a bit and experience the world a bit more – a few hours deep in gridlock in other parts of the country should be sufficient to give a bit of perspective. Here was an opportunity to design and build something in a wide open area that would work well today and scale into the future as traffic numbers grew. Insetad, we got something that would hardly be sufficient 10 years ago.

Keijidosha 2:25 pm 08 Sep 11

Thoroughly Smashed said :

It is a stack interchange, and is pretty much the most expensive option, and would be especially so at glenloch where elevation and ecological concerns dictated the design.

Maybe the initial design, but the addition of the GDE should have forced a radical redesign, rather than the seemingly haphazard, bizarre junction we are now burdoned with. The current solution seems to have placed low cost above practicality, which is ridiculous given the cost blowout of the GDE project. A stacked interchange would have been expensive, but I believe necessary when you consider that the development of Molonglo will be pitching thousands more cars at Glenloch in the near future.

Thoroughly Smashed 2:08 pm 08 Sep 11

enrique said :

do you think they could have made it simpler?

If it were designed from the start as a single stage project, most probably.

As it has been executed we’ve had two separate projects run by different design consultants, each one working with what was there when they started, and offering a design that fits the client’s budget.

Ben_Dover 1:37 pm 08 Sep 11

Well a similarly regarded enterprise took far less time.

Construction of RMS Titanic, funded by the American J.P. Morgan and his International Mercantile Marine Co., began on 31 March 1909. Titanic’s hull was launched at 12:13 on 31 May 1911, and her outfitting was completed by 31 March the following year.

enrique 1:20 pm 08 Sep 11

Thoroughly Smashed said :

enrique said :

Why on earth didn’t they just build something straightforward like this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloverleaf_interchange

Because cloverleafs are terrible things.

enrique said :

i.e. just like this one… http://maps.google.com.au/?ll=-33.799584,150.855525&spn=0.01455,0.01929&t=h&vpsrc=6&z=16

Which is not even remotely a cloverleaf. It is a stack interchange, and is pretty much the most expensive option, and would be especially so at glenloch where elevation and ecological concerns dictated the design.

Fair enough, you learn something new everyday…

You seem to know a bit about this type of stuff, do you think they could have made it simpler?

Kerehona 1:18 pm 08 Sep 11

The last ACT Labour campaign I overheard Stanhope discussing his reasons for not building the second lane on the GDE (and was not about to make any apologies for) was that the Government simply did not have the budget.

Thoroughly Smashed 1:16 pm 08 Sep 11

enrique said :

Why on earth didn’t they just build something straightforward like this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloverleaf_interchange

Because cloverleafs are terrible things.

enrique said :

i.e. just like this one… http://maps.google.com.au/?ll=-33.799584,150.855525&spn=0.01455,0.01929&t=h&vpsrc=6&z=16

Which is not even remotely a cloverleaf. It is a stack interchange, and is pretty much the most expensive option, and would be especially so at glenloch where elevation and ecological concerns dictated the design.

enrique 1:03 pm 08 Sep 11

What baffles me is the Glenloch Interchange…

How they managed to over-complicate, over-engineer and completely bugger up what essentially should be just a standard cloverleaf overpass is beyond comprehension.

Think about it… 2 roads, one runs north-south (Gunghalin to Woden/Tuggeranong), the other runs east-west (Civic to Belconnen). Why on earth didn’t they just build something straightforward like this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloverleaf_interchange

i.e. just like this one… http://maps.google.com.au/?ll=-33.799584,150.855525&spn=0.01455,0.01929&t=h&vpsrc=6&z=16

Cheap 10:39 am 08 Sep 11

If the ACT government had been in charge, the Great Pyramid of Giza wouldn’t have been completed yet.

Deckard 9:18 pm 07 Sep 11

keepitup said :

I understand that landscaping work will go on for up to 12 months. Of course that means there will be restricted speed limits. Get used to 40 and 60 kph sections until some time in 2012.

I wonder when they start on the public art sculpture….

Jivrashia 8:11 pm 07 Sep 11

“This is in contrast to the span of the Sydney Harbour Bridge which was built almost 80 years ago within four years.”

The biggest contrast is that back in those days people were having a bet and a good laugh that the Bridge will collapse during the construction.

You’d think that 80 years later they’d have it down pat… Or are we seeing a problem that wasn’t around back then?

keepitup 7:48 pm 07 Sep 11

I understand that landscaping work will go on for up to 12 months. Of course that means there will be restricted speed limits. Get used to 40 and 60 kph sections until some time in 2012.

keepitup 7:44 pm 07 Sep 11

yellowsnow said :

I don’t think i ever saw more than 10 people working on the damn thing simultaneously, each for probably no more than an hour a day on average, based on my observations

Does that include the 2 people holding the stop/go signs?

Thumper 6:55 pm 07 Sep 11

This is exactly how it happened.

Jon? Is that you?

what_the 6:28 pm 07 Sep 11

Keijidosha said :

yellowsnow said :

Bonzo said :

Of course the government could’ve cut that time in half (or more) if they had just told the O’Connor Ridge NIMBYs to bugger off and built the damn thing dual carriageway in the first place.

and here i was thinking they built a one lane freeway to save money … seriously, I don’t see how it had anything to do with NIMBYs.

After the project had commenced, protestors put a halt to construction and tied up the GDE in an expensive legal battle that went on for months (or perhaps years, I can’t recall.) Meanwhile the ACT Government was also paying the construction company (and their staff) to let their machinery sit idle on the ground.

All this soaked up so much money that the project was downscaled to one traffic lane in each direction until more money became available in following years.

This is exactly how it happened.

Thumper 5:24 pm 07 Sep 11

At the time of the original O’Connor NIMBY kerfuffle regarding the road, I entertained an altenate plan which involved a canal from Gungahlin to Aranda.Vehicles would have been placed on horse drawn barges for the journey. The benefits would have included low noise impacts on the Bruce sports precinct and endless manure for their vast playing fields and arenas.

With the obligatory Canalside pub every few miles, of course.

Pork Hunt 5:14 pm 07 Sep 11

At the time of the original O’Connor NIMBY kerfuffle regarding the road, I entertained an altenate plan which involved a canal from Gungahlin to Aranda.
Vehicles would have been placed on horse drawn barges for the journey. The benefits would have included low noise impacts on the Bruce sports precinct and endless manure for their vast playing fields and arenas.
Drivers would have listened to clip clop of horses hooves during their pleasant voyage which would have taken the same time as travelling on the new road.
The low intellect of many Gungahlin residents would have made them perfect for the tedious task of tow path maintenance.
Had I submitted this plan at the time, we could well be living in a city different than now. Hang on, the Queanbeyan bypass is coming up…..

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