28 April 2019

Labor to duplicate Barton Highway

| Ian Bushnell
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A sign urging Barton Highway drivers to stick to the speed limit along the notorious stretch of road. Photo: Yass Valley Shire Council.

Labor has committed to duplicating the Barton Highway between the NSW/ACT border and Murrumbateman, in a $250 million election pledge that trumps the Coalition by $100 million.

In a joint statement, Opposition infrastructure and transport spokesperson Anthony Albanese and Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly said full duplication would improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion on a notorious stretch of road that is used by 12,500 vehicles a day, including about 1000 trucks.

The Barton Highway links the southern and western areas of NSW to the ACT, running 52 kilometres between Canberra and the Hume Highway, near Yass, and is a vital commuter link between the Yass Valley and the national capital.

“Increasing traffic volumes have led to increasing levels of traffic accidents on the highway, so a Shorten Labor Government would work with the New South Wales Government to expedite the duplication in the interests of road safety,” the pair said.

They said the project would also boost productivity by facilitating quicker movement of road freight around the region.

The pair said average annual investment in the Barton Highway had fallen from $5.4 million under the former Federal Labor Government to $1.7 million under the Coalition.

“The chaotic Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has cut road investment in regional Australia and attempted to conceal the cuts with promises of investment that it has pushed off into the never-never,” they said.

“There is no better example of the unfair cuts inflicted by the Liberal and National Parties than the Barton Highway.

“Only a Shorten Labor Government can be relied upon to invest in the road infrastructure regional Australia needs to not only boost productivity and drive economic development, but also to deliver safe driving conditions for motorists, truck drivers and other road users.”

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Wouldn’t be congested if people just did the speed limit, rather than 20 under and creating a 2km long traffic jam behind them. See it pretty much every time I get on that road. The safety issues are people taking risks to get past these idiots. If the police start fining these rolling road nuisances regularly, you would see an immediate improvement in traffic flow.

If you are talking about congestion then in actual fact if everyone went 80km/h you would be able to fit more vehicles on the road safely compared to going 100km/h.

By safe I mean by maintaining the recommended safe gap for the speed. At 100km/h that distance is far greater than 80km/h which means less vehicles can use that stretch of road at any given time.

Logic would suggest the higher speed would get more vehicles through but do the maths and it is the other way around!

In some counties they have variable speed limits that lower the speed limits in the peak times for this very reason.

Trevor Watson I like you, you’re wicked. Love the idea of all the faux Tuscan style villas that could line the highway.

wildturkeycanoe4:32 pm 28 Apr 19

12,500 vehicles a day and they think it needs duplication? William Hovell drive has 60,000 vehicles a day and they just added another set of lights, with thousands more cars to come with Molonglo expansion and west Belco growing. We still only have one lane from Higgins to Coulter Drive, making a worse peak hour than Yass residents will ever know. But I guess the Feds need to target the NSW side of the border as Canberrans apparently love Labor already (I can’t see why though).

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