Should we build the first stage of Light Rail or instead build Monash Drive to solve the problem of increasing congestion along Northbourne Avenue during peak times?
The current Government plans to build light rail along Northbourne Avenue, but previous Federal and ACT Governments had planned to eventually build Monash Drive.
Monash Drive had been proposed since the 60’s for the extra traffic anticipated when the suburbs of Gungahlin were eventually built. Shown on old maps, it runs behind Watson, Hackett and Ainslie from Northbourne to the City. It was dropped from the Territory plan in 2004, and from the National Capital Authority plan in 2009.
- Why has there been no public discussion about Monash Drive as an alternative to Light Rail stage 1?
- What is the cost-benefit analysis for building Monash Drive, and how does this compare with building Light Rail stage 1?
- What is the triple-bottom-line analysis (social, economic, and environmental impacts) for building Monash Drive, and how does this compare with building Light Rail stage 1?
- Has Monash Drive ever been costed and submitted to Infrastructure Australia for a grant consideration, and would they contribute?
Majura Parkway will cost $288M and is 12km long, with dual carriageway and a large bridge at the southern end. The ACT and Federal Governments are each paying half the construction costs. Monash Drive would be about 8km long.
Before Gungahlin Drive was extended (originally proposed as John Dedman Parkway), the debate was should we build either John Dedman Parkway or Monash Drive. In the end it was decided to extend Gungahlin Drive to the Glenloch Interchange and drop Monash Drive. Past Governments could have decided to build each road when the growth of Gungahlin required, and kept Monash Dr on the future plans.
- What is the plan to deal with the significantly increased congestion along Flemington and Northbourne during the 3-year construction phase of rail? (Section 18.104.22.168 in the Business Case provides little detail on this issue.)
- How would this compare to the construction of Monash Drive, which would mainly be on cleared land along the east of the Inner North?
Either Monash Drive or Light Rail stage 1 might be most suitable for Canberra, but we will not know without extensive public debate. ACT Labor and ACT Greens are past the points for debate on alternatives and are well along the tracks of light rail. The ACT Liberals have opposed light rail but not proposed an alternative solution to the increasing congestion along Northbourne Avenue during peak times.