Moves to duplicate a 1.6 km section of Tharwa Drive in Canberra’s far south will buoy residents regularly stuck in peak hour traffic and ease concerns about emergency vehicle access and evacuation needs during a bushfire crisis.
Transport Canberra and City Services is seeking a consultant to conduct a feasibility study and provide design options for duplicating the single lane road between the Woodcock Drive/Box Hill Avenue roundabout and Pockett Avenue in Banks, the final suburb on the urban fringe before Lanyon Homestead, the village of Tharwa, and beyond that Namadgi National Park.
The tender documents say this stretch of road is experiencing significant congestion and causing delays for commuters at peak times, which will only get worse with further urban development in the area.
TCCS says morning traffic moves slowly until it reaches the duplicated lanes past the Woodcock Drive/Box Hill Avenue roundabout at Lanyon Marketplace.
Last summer’s devastating fire in Namadgi National Park highlighted the threat to Tuggeranong’s southern suburbs such as Banks and Gordon, and the risk to firefighting operations posed by sightseers clogging local roads, as well as traffic management issues if residents needed to be evacuated.
TCCS wants to see three design options, including a preferred design for the ”most cost-effective, sustainable and appropriate solution to ease congestion, improve safety and to facilitate an improved road network in the Tuggeranong area to meet current and future needs”.
This will include cost estimates and a cost/benefit analysis for each option.
The consultant will need to model traffic flows but take into account the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the number of people using the road.
Any noise impacts, particularly on residential areas, will need to be identified so mitigation measures can be taken, including buffers.
The consultant will need to confirm areas such as heritage-protected sites, areas of ecological significance or protected flora and fauna, or any areas of environmental concern within the project area that require remediation.
It is expected that local businesses, residents and community groups will contribute to the feasibility and design process through meetings and workshops.
The consultant’s findings will go to supporting a business case for the duplication.
The tender closes on 30 July and the government will award the contract by 21 August.
TCCS says the Tharwa Drive duplication would complement other improvements already made to the road network in the south including the duplication of Ashley Drive, the safety improvements underway on the Monaro Highway and the future duplication of Athllon Drive.