25 April 2024

Hiking Mount Taylor in the next three months? You'll need another place to park

| James Coleman
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Mannheim Street/Sulwood Drive intersection

Traffic lights will be added to the Mannheim Street/Sulwood Drive intersection to improve access to the Mount Taylor carpark. Photo: ACT Government.

Hikers of one of the ACT’s busiest nature walks will have to find another place to park over the next three months.

Sulwood Drive in Tuggeranong will be closed for 13 weeks of extensive roadworks from 6 May, also shutting off access to the main carpark for the Mount Taylor walk.

The two-lane road links Drakeford Drive and Erindale Drive, and includes several intersections with suburban streets in Wanniassa and Kambah.

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ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel announced upgrades to the stretch between Drakeford and Athllon drives almost three years ago, in June 2021.

New raised pedestrian crossings were installed at the entrances to Inkster Street and Livingston Avenue in Kambah – along with new street lighting – in the middle of last year.

Construction is now set to start on the main package of works, which has been separated into two stages.

Overlooking Sulwood Drive and the Mount Taylor car park.

Overlooking Sulwood Drive and the Mount Taylor carpark. Photo: ACT Government.

Street lights will be added to the Mannheim Street intersection, including a new right-turn lane into the Mount Taylor carpark and new entry and exit points, and 500 metres of the tarmac on either side “rehabilitated”.

A new shared path, four kilometres long and three metres wide, will then be built along the southern side of Sulwood Drive.

The road will close Monday, 6 May, and reopen Monday, 5 August, weather permitting.

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The ACT Government said this period “avoids extended partial closures which would create even longer disruption and delay the completion of this important project”.

“Traffic impacts will be monitored during the closure and measures such as signal timing changes will be made if required,” a spokesperson said.

“During the road closure there will be no access to the formalised Mount Taylor carpark on Sulwood Drive. Informal off-road parking will be permitted along Sulwood Drive at either end of the road closure.”

Sulwood Drive detours

A number of detours are in place during the Sulwood Drive roadworks. Photo: ACT Government.

Road users will still be able to turn left out of Inkster Street onto Sulwood Drive and right into Inkster Street from Sulwood Drive, and turn right out of Livingston Avenue onto Sulwood Drive and left into Livingston Avenue from Sulwood Drive.

Pedestrian access to the Mount Taylor Nature Reserve, opposite the Mannheim Street intersection, will be maintained “as much as possible”.

“For safety reasons, it may be necessary to temporarily close the pedestrian access during some construction activities. Signage will be installed to inform the community.”

Visit the City Services website for more information.

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I’m not sure why you’d park on the side of an 80km/h road anyway when there are dedicated carparks away from busy roads (one accessed from Chifley, the other from Sulwood Dr)

The 4 km section of Sulwood between Athllon and Drakeford has been a bugbear of mine for years and the subject of countless representations to relevant authorities. The road is a disgrace and needs more than a set of traffic lights. At last count, there were AT LEAST 70 patches on that stretch, some of which are patches on patches on patches! My then 18 yo son hit a pothole on that stretch which did significant damage to his car. He is now 32 and that same pothole is still being repaired on a regular basis; 14 years later and they still haven’t figured out how to stop ground water from destroying the asphalt! Sulwood is a key link to the Parkway and Weston Creek from south Woden and north Tuggeranong. That entire section needs to be closed, detours put in place and the road re-engineered to an acceptable standard. For as long as it takes!

What is happening with the Athllon Dr upgrade? A sign was up by September 2020 and in November Mr Steel announced hat a tender had been released.
What will they do first, duplicate the road or replace the sign because it’s getting a bit faded?

For crying out loud why is this so much better than a roundabout? I suspect the answer is that it is not. I hope they repair most of the road surface for the whole stretch from Drakeford to Athllon. It has been a disgrace for a long time and significant repairs done over the last year or two are the worst of the lot. I hope the contractor who did the repairs was not paid for such a shoddy job.

What is wrong with roundabouts at Inkster and Mannheim? They work well on the Wanniassa side of Sulwood. Lights slow traffic too much. I use Sulwood Drive because Drakeford Drive has too many lights.

This road has always received the absolute minimal spend possible repairs. Same potholes filled over and over again.

It takes a lot of very heavy vehicles from and back to Hume, really overdue for duplication.

And new housing along the base of Mt Taylor 😀, imagine the money the government could make off those incredible views.

It seems to me that the majority of the proposed works are focused on pedestrian access to the Mount Taylor Nature Reserve. This is all well and good however Sulwood Drive between Inkster Street and Athlon Drive has overdue for a complete resurface for years. There are over 20 separate repaires on this stretch!

The fundamental issue is the water run off from Mt Taylor which runs below the road surface and undermines it. I trust the proposed works will address this in part or the road issues will recur.

It would also be great if they used the contractor that resurfaced the section of the Parkway around the zoo, a beautifully smooth and quiet surface and not the mob that just finished making a very bumpy and noisy, goat track surface at the intersection with Sulwood. That work should never been accepted.

Great some more traffic lights

I would have loved a round about rather than lights.

The pedestrian crossing should be moved to the same side as the footpath coming up Manheim Street.

As it is pedestrians wanting to go to and from Manheim Street will have to cross two streets instead of just the one.

Funny, no comments demanding a business case (is there one?), complaining of wasting money on something they won’t be able to use, and so on?

The project is being justified on safety grounds, so the business case would be relatively thin, outlining the risks to pedestrians and road users attempting to access Mt Taylor reserve as justification for the expenditure.

Although you do raise a good point that the government should be more transparent on its decisions and the supporting evidence involved.

Particularly for larger, more expensive projects. Based on your comment, I’m sure you agree.

The whole of Sulwood Drive is in a disgusting state of repair, and has been for a very long time. That they’re only planning to “rehabilitate” the 500m either side of this intersection is ridiculous.
City Services also hasn’t bothered to advise anyone living on the suburban streets that are going to affected by having more traffic on them for at least 3 months, though they’ve apparently done letterbox drops in other parts of Kambah. There are also errors with street names in the map they’ve issued. We, like others, are also waiting for the duplication of both this road and Athllon Drive.

The Govt sure takes its time to commence infrastructure projects.

It will be interesting to hear the logic of how this project starts before the Athllon Drive duplication, when that was promised eight years ago.

You could tell they weren’t serious about that when they built a stone wall for the bus stop and permanent landscaping.

3 months is a joke. Also not duplicating it is a joke.

It reminds me they are redoing Athlon drive. Not the long promised duplication but the part they are duplicating they are redoing the lights and the road around the depo, in the same part they expect us to believe they have planned to duplicate in woden.

They expect to do the bare minimum (to serve bike riders) and avoid actually fixing it.
There seems to be issues with the subbase of most of sulwood, given all the ‘fixed’ potholes reappear soon after they get ‘fixed’. The effort on the carpark was minimal that just caused issues with loose gravel over the road.

One has to wonder if doing this as slow as they can was part of the contract so it seemed like they were spending more money? It seems more like the excuse rather than full duplication we’re just going to give lights and claim that duplicating would waste the cost of doing the lights.

Sulwood Drive was built very quickly (& therefore presumably cheaply) back in the early 1980s, and has deteriorated ever since. As you say, potholes on potholes on potholes…..

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