The National Capital Authority will install a safety barrier on Commonwealth Avenue Bridge following calls from bike riders for better protection from traffic.
The temporary measure will be installed during night works on the bridge from tonight, after years of close calls on the bike path on the western side of the bridge due to high winds and increased path usage.
Advocacy group Pedal Power ACT have continually highlighted the lack of an appropriate barrier on the northbound carriageway over Lake Burley Griffin, most recently in March on the RiotACT, after concerns from members prompted renewed calls for the NCA to urgently address the problem.
The NCA’s response in March was to announce that a temporary measure would be arranged, to be installed within three months.
The temporary measure will be a two-rail system, with handrail and cycling restraint, will be bolted to the path next to the existing vehicle barrier. The new barrier will measure 1.4m tall, doubling the height of the existing barrier, and will be painted grey to meet heritage requirements.
The new higher barrier will protect bike riders from accidental conflict with motor vehicle traffic on the bridge, which is currently most often a risk in high winds. At present, riders can still be blown over the lower barrier on the Western side of the bridge and into traffic during particularly strong gusts.
“We consulted with Pedal Power ACT, Canberra Cycling Club and the ACT Government’s Bicycle Advisory Group regarding the barrier and they have given their support for the final design,” said NCA Chief Executive Malcolm Snow.
The temporary measure is expected to be in use for approximately two years, until work commences on the Kings and Commonwealth Avenue Renewal and a permanent solution is installed.
The proposed Parliamentary Triangle renewal aims to revitalise the area with more trees, speed limit reduction, and widening and enhancing pedestrian and cycle connections along the full length of the avenues. The proposed draft design is currently undergoing community consultation.
One northbound vehicle lane of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and half of the shared pathway over Lake Burley Griffin will be closed for the night works program, to provide access for workers.
Night works will begin on Monday, 19 June and continue for two weeks.
Anne Treasure is the Communications Manager for Pedal Power ACT. She writes on bike riding in the ACT from the perspective of a Canberran who rides mainly for transport.