The ACT Government plans to upgrade two sections of Monaro Highway before Canberra heads south for next year’s snow season, after yet another fatal crash on the busy highway.
Transport Canberra and City Services has released a tender for the design and construction of Monaro Highway improvements, including construction of a two-kilometres of a northbound overtaking lane between Williamsdale Road and Royalla Drive.
The tender said there is 25 kilometre stretch of highway without overtaking lanes for motorists heading into Canberra, causing drivers to be impatient during the holiday season.
“Significant traffic increases over holiday periods and during the ski season can result in considerable levels of driver frustration leading to risky overtaking manoeuvres,” the tender reads.
“This factor coupled with the accident history which included several head-on collisions in the immediate area is the basis for the provision of an overtaking lane with a wide median treatment.
“Construction of the overtaking lane facility is expected to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes both within the area of works and upstream and downstream of the project location through decreased drive frustration resulting in risky overtaking manoeuvres.”
After 44 crashes including five fatalities on the highway between 2011 – 2016, a black spot study was conducted which identified several safety improvements to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes.
Strategic barrier lines and wide centreline marking were installed last year as an interim safety improvement measure while planning for an overtaking lane and other more significant measures were undertaken.
Other proposed improvements on the Monaro Highway include the construction of a 200-metre channelised left turn for southbound traffic on the Monaro Highway into Old Cooma Road. The tender said the road work was to stop drivers using the painted median to overtake decelerating vehicles.
“This manoeuvre is considered highly risky with the strong possibility of serious or fatal T-bone crashes,” the tender said. “The exposure and thus likelihood of such crashes is expected to increase as demand for the left turn movement increases as drivers use this route to access the growing Googong subdivision.”
The road works will also see new road pavements, kerbs, concrete island, line marking, pavement markings, on-road cyclist provisions, stormwater drainage and property access provisions as well as the installation of verge side safety barriers.
The road works, which will be jointly funded by the ACT Government and Federal Government, aims to be completed prior to the start of the ski season in 2020.