Molonglo residents will have to wait for key river crossing

Ian Bushnell 11 June 2020 26
Molonglo River crossing

An artist’s impression of the Molonglo River crossing. Photo: ACT Government.

The ACT may be in the middle of an infrastructure boom but the planned $150 million Molonglo River bridge to service the burgeoning new suburbs of the Molonglo Valley isn’t on the list.

The Weston Creek Community Council had called on Chief Minister Andrew Barr to fast track the project, currently in the last stage of early design and development approvals.

Council chair Tom Anderson had written to Chief Minister Andrew Barr calling for longer-term infrastructure projects to be brought forward to keep the ACT’s construction workers employed, singling out the John Gorton Drive Molonglo River Bridge Crossing Project.

”This project would link existing Molonglo suburbs with the new suburb of Whitlam and would also provide high-quality transport links between Woden, Weston Creek, Molonglo and Belconnen for many decades once completed,” Mr Anderson said.

“We see this project as an essential link to ensure all-weather access between Molonglo suburbs, as well as alternative access routes in times of high congestion or emergency.”

But Roads Minister Chris Steel, in a letter to Mr Anderson, said the ACT Government was not looking to fast track the project at this time, given its early stages and the significant amount of design work that was still required before it could progress further.

Mr Anderson said the response was disappointing and the council would continue to lobby to have this bridge built earlier than scheduled.

Mr Steel told Region Media that the final design and construction phase, once the current $3 million project is complete, would take three and a half years.

”The ACT Government is considering the timeframes for delivery of the project in the context of the broader infrastructure plan and with the risks created by COVID-19 for the timelines of major projects,” he said.

The current work drawing to a close included the delivery of technical plans and drawings of the bridge crossing and arterial road approaches, a detailed geotechnical investigation, utility authority approvals and development approvals.

Mr Steel told Mr Anderson that the government was currently considering a business case to deliver the final stage of the project.

”This will be a significant undertaking, to design and construct the bridge crossing, as well as connect arterial road approaches,” he said.

Mr Steel said the government acknowledged and accepted the benefits Mr Anderson had outlined, and underlined wider economic and social benefits, including the bridge being able to accommodate light rail, support the current public transport network and provide for active travel with designated on-road cycle paths and a shared path each side of the bridge.

”There has been considerable architectural input into the bridge design to provide an aesthetically pleasing structure which will also provide recreational connections to the Molonglo River Reserve in the future,” he said.

”Finally, the project will support the delivery of the Molonglo Town Centre, an important mixed-used commercial centre to service the Molonglo Valley and wider community.”

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26 Responses to Molonglo residents will have to wait for key river crossing
Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:27 pm 13 Jun 20

“I hope that when it is built the last of the charred fence posts from the 2003 bushfire are retained at Coppins crossing.”

I think the Coppins Crossing bushfire was in 2002.

Kylie Beer Kylie Beer 6:19 pm 12 Jun 20

I hope that when it is built the last of the charred fence posts from the 2003 bushfire are retained at Coppins crossing.

HSewell HSewell 3:56 pm 12 Jun 20

How many registered members does the “Weston Creek Community Council” represent? Surely we shouldn’t keep quoting these organisations without giving a sense of how many Canberrans they speak on behalf of?

    54-11 54-11 2:21 pm 13 Jun 20

    If you don’t think they are representative, then go and join them and contribute something useful, rather than whingeing and sniping from the sideline.

steveu steveu 9:39 am 12 Jun 20

It looks like it may even be TWO lanes!

michael quirk michael quirk 8:35 am 12 Jun 20

The decision is another example of the inadequate planning of Molonglo.

The decision to develop Whitlam instead of consolidating development south of the river fragmented the district’s population leading to a lower catchment to support commercial and community facilities. A consequence is the delay in the release of major supermarkets planned for Molonglo’s main commercial centre. The resident’s of Whitlam shopping patterns will be directed towards centres in the north of Canberra, a trade that could be lost even with the construction of the bridge in 3 to 4 years time.

It reflects a lack of planning expertise within the ACT administration, also apparent in the light rail fiasco.

    JC JC 8:43 am 13 Jun 20

    Going by your comments I assume you have not taken the time to actually read the Molongolo masterplan documents. What you consider to be lack of planning cannot be further from the truth.

    As for Whiltlam where it is located is there are no convenient northern shopping centres that will set life long patterns and last time I looked, which was just yesterday there is a perfectly good road leading to the south side of Molongolo. There can be no argument that with what is PLANED this bridge needs to be built, there isn’t however the urgency to bring it forward.

    michael quirk michael quirk 12:50 pm 13 Jun 20

    The poor planning is reflected in the outcomes

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 7:44 am 12 Jun 20

Trying to think of a few positives from the delay! I guess the delay will make it harder for residents of West Belconnen to visit the new grand new aquatic centre for a while, especially when we get decent rain. Will also annoy the bogans doing their daily Cannonball type run from William Hovell Drive forced to negotiate the Coppins Crossing low level chicane for a bit longer. Also reduces the crowds at Bunnings Belconnen and...

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:13 am 12 Jun 20

    Bill Gemmell it hasn’t been delayed. It just hasn’t been identified to bring forward. Big difference.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 10:47 am 12 Jun 20

    Ashley Wright not my understanding. The request from WCCC on this issue was quite polite, suggesting accelerating a delayed project to avoid bringing politics into it.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:55 am 12 Jun 20

    Bill Gemmell so if it has been delayed where is the previous announcement of when it will be built and finished?

    Andrew Begg Andrew Begg 2:59 pm 12 Jun 20

    Bill Gemmell it's slow going because it crosses through a sensitive ecological area (the Molonglo River area). We all know its needed but it is important they don't rush and get it right.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 3:28 pm 12 Jun 20

    Ashley Wright if you look in the glossy infrastructure plan and the mid year budget update you will see enough to justify a view it is delayed

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:20 pm 12 Jun 20

    Bill Gemmell this plan?

    If so page 81 says of this road bridge that design and construction to start 20-21 and expected to finish in 2024.

    Unless I am mistaken the article mentions that design work is underway and expected to be finished in 3.5 years. That is entirely consistent with the “glossy” you referred me to.

Dhruv Jagad Dhruv Jagad 4:35 am 12 Jun 20

Molonglo valley is most expensive neighbourhood in new development and yet to receive proper services

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:12 am 12 Jun 20

    Dhruv Jagad what proper services is it lacking that are not driven by population?

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:15 pm 13 Jun 20

    Katie Lambart that’s population driven and not something the government builds.

    Rob Sanders Rob Sanders 12:03 pm 15 Jun 20

    Roads & public transport! It can take 20 mins to get from Wright to the Parkway some days. The traffic merges with Weston Creek traffic coming out of Streeton. That's before Denman is fully populated as well. It'll be utter chaos in three years.

    Rob Sanders Rob Sanders 12:14 pm 15 Jun 20

    What's lacking in Molonglo? Sporting fields (eventually - planned for the Stromlo Park redevelopment), a community hall (not the school, not a room "available to the community"), public toilets, a realistic police presence, effective public transport (no direct express bus to Woden WTF)? Oh, and there's just a single public bin in the entire suburb of Wright.. and only two public BBQs.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:43 pm 15 Jun 20

    Rob Sanders sporting fields, you have the oval at Coombs as well as several ovals in Weston Creek. Molongolo is only seperate by name only.

    Roads as above yeah you might get congestion but where in Canberra doesn’t? That’s the cost of being an area that is “inner”.

    Community hall fair enough but how many are there elsewhere in Canberra.

    My point you are no better or worse off than anyone else in Canberra.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:37 pm 15 Jun 20

    Rob Sanders but you have really high quality burn outs and street racing over there.

    Rob Sanders Rob Sanders 9:57 pm 15 Jun 20

    Ashley Wright My point is that if it's bad now, it will be far, far worse within three years. We need that northern bridge before 2025.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:46 am 16 Jun 20

    Rob Sanders so that traffic can flow onto William Hovell drive which is already busy too and likely to get busier with the new west Belco development?

    Unfortunately for Molongolo the price of being so close to the city will be regardless of what happens with the roads you will be joining already congested roads. And it’s not really practicable to increase capacity on William Hovell, Tuggeranong Parkway, Adelaide Ave or Parkes way.

    Rob Sanders Rob Sanders 9:23 am 16 Jun 20

    Ashley Wright Until there's an accident on the only main arterial road out of the region. Being in the region does not excuse a lack of public works. Every other region has at least two major arterial roads in and out. How about you learn a lesson for how long it took Gungahlin to get the Horse Park road duplication?

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:27 am 16 Jun 20

    Rob Sanders every region may have that now but every region did not have it during its construction and development.

    Gungahlin for example for many years only had Gundaroo drive in and out and the early suburbs had far more people than Molongolo.

    Besides there are two ways in and out of Molongolo already. Whilst not double lane high speed coppings Crossing is a way in/out.

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