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Monaro Slowway

By zig - 26 February 2008 60

This morning and most mornings now it takes me on average about 30 minutes to get from Chisholm to Fyshwick due to number the vehicles clogging the Monaro highway. The distance I travel to work is only about 15km’s which means I have an average speed of just 30km/h. The speed limit for the Monaro is 80km/h and 100km/h in parts. I can’t change my working hours as they are dictated by my employer.

My wife has also found that it is quicker to travel to Civic via Woden/Adelaide Avenue during peak times than by travelling down the Monaro Slowway.

Is it just me or are Canberra roads inadequate in coping with even a slight increase of normal peak traffic?

The ACT road planners seem to keep adding extra sets of traffic lights and reducing the speed limits on the Monaro highway which doesn’t make any sense. It is a highway, it shouldn’t have traffic lights at all, just overpasses, underpasses and merging lanes. Why do we pay car registration for inadequate roads?

Every afternoon when I go home, the traffic lights for the ACT Jail are constantly going red/green for the construction labourers that knock off after their days work which clogs up the Monaro even more. Why did they put traffic lights in and not an underpass/overpass arrangement?

Most ACT cabbies I have spoken too, seem to indicate that ACT road planning only looks 2 years ahead and not 5-10 years ahead.

Anyone know any detail or background behind the ACT road planning mentality? Things are only going to get worse unless the ACT gets some decent public transport or upgrades it’s roads to deal with peak volumes of traffic.

What’s Your opinion?

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60 Responses to
Monaro Slowway
caf 9:30 am 27 Feb 08

RuffnReady/ant: If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the earthworks and bridge foundations are already in place for a second carriageway on the new bits of Gungahlin Drive. So it’s been prepared to add the second carriageway quickly and easily, when its required. I guess traffic volume analysis showed that the second carriageway won’t be needed yet (notice that as part of the project, Caswell Drive is being upgraded to dual carriageway, so clearly there is some analysis going on).

And the Fairbairn Avenue thing is because the NCA said it had to be one lane each way. This has been mentioned here many times in the past.

neanderthalsis 9:23 am 27 Feb 08

I’m always amazed at people whining about a 30 min trip to work. Yes I know that many of Canberras major roads are a mess and public transport is a joke, but try living in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne and getting from the outer ‘burbs to the CBD in 30 mins.

zig 9:14 am 27 Feb 08

Car pooling would be ideal, however in the real world it isn’t practical for most people unless you spend your work day chained to your desk.

Canberra seems to be designed for cars and not much else. Decent ACT public transport would help. Light rail? Decent bus services?

Is there any long-term vision of what Canberra’s mass transit system will be? A piss poor bus service doesn’t count as mass transit.

West_Kambah_4eva 9:14 am 27 Feb 08

aaah, Gungahlin Drive extension, one lane each way. fucking genius.

thanks for ruining driving conditions around civic and glenlock for, uhh, A WHOLE FRIGGIN YEAR to make a pathetic backstreet through some trees to ngunnawal or whatever ass-backwards new suburb in south sydney they’ve created now.

burninator 8:18 am 27 Feb 08

Imagine if everyone in a 5-seater car carried more than one person!

We don’t need more roads, we just need to recognise the limitations of our choices.

Adza 8:16 am 27 Feb 08

I’ve long been asking why traffic lights keep popping up on major arterial roads. The ACT Jail, the new Epicentre at Fyshwick, Harman, they are all lights that have been installed in the last 3 or 4 years, and they all slow down traffic on major routes.

The Monaro, Parkway and other major roads should have proper exits, not lights.

Dual lanes are also needed in many places now…

zig 8:01 am 27 Feb 08

I totally agree with the comment about riding to work. The trouble is there isn’t a decent bike path. I am forever seeing bike riders on the side of Monaro fixing flats, no doubt due to the amount of random debris on the road.

Only putting traffic lights might be cheaper for the Government. However it’s the road user/taxpayer that ends up paying in:

a) Lost time and productivity
b) Wasted fuel

So instead of the Government spending road users/taxpayers money on fixing roads, they expect road users to indirectly pay for the privilege of driving on inadequate roads.

Dave F 1:57 am 27 Feb 08

> Why did they put traffic lights in and not an underpass/overpass arrangement?

Traffic lights are a lot cheaper.

ant 1:01 am 27 Feb 08

Ah ha! The Fairbairn Beautification Project.

Originally, it WAS to make Fairbairn 2 lanes each way. And funds were allocated, and tenders were sought.

And then, while work was proceeding and trees were being slaughtered, all of a sudden, suddenly, the road was to be 1 lane.

As it had been, before the multi-million-dollar project was approved.

What happened? Someone knows! If we had a functioning local media, instead of a press-release-publishing-service, maybe we’d all know by now.

As it is, something very weird happened, and they got away with it.

RuffnReady 12:45 am 27 Feb 08


I ride most places but the attitude of some Canberra drivers towards cyclists is appalling. I obey the road rules and do everything in my power to get out of the way of cars, and yet I still cop verbal abuse from nowhere and have had two cars swerve towards me coming from the opposite direction! What the hell is that about???

RuffnReady 12:41 am 27 Feb 08

Agreed about Canberra road planning, it seems very short-term focussed.

Two more examples:
1. why the hell is the Gungahlin Drive extension ONE LANE each way??? What an absurdity when there was more than enough room to make it duel carriageway.
2. why wasn’t the Fairbairn Ave redevelopment duel carriageway? Majura Rd and Pialligo Ave also should be duel carriageway. The roads around the airport are a mess and should be dealt with immediately.

ant 12:36 am 27 Feb 08

Same coming in from the East. It’s since Xmas, too. After people came back, around late January, suddenly the traffic from Qbn was in crawl/stop mode from the Yass Road! Usually it didn’t do that until we hit the airport, but now it was as you came under the railway underpass. It appears to be caused by a massive increase in cars entering the road from Oaks Estate Road, and they are pretty aggressive and force their way on, cars slow to let them, and since the volume coming from Qbn and Sutton Road is heavy, it builds down the road. So it’s 2nd gear and stopping all the way to the airport, which is then a mobile carpark. And again near Russell, as that roundabout fails (trucks make it 3 times worse). Back into 4th gear on King’s Ave!

I’ve never seen it this bad. I’ve tried coming in early, but it doens’t work. Only thing that does work is hitting town around 9am, when it’s gone.

But the poor buggers coming off Majura/fairbairn bound for the airport are still crawling.

AussieGal83 12:28 am 27 Feb 08

I agree. Some of Canberra’s are getting ridiculous.

JD114 12:18 am 27 Feb 08

Ride. You’ll do it in the same 30 mins and you’ll feel sooooo much better for it

Spectra 11:57 pm 26 Feb 08

It is a highway, it shouldn’t have traffic lights at all, just overpasses, underpasses and merging lanes.

Nope. You’re thinking of a freeway/parkway. I suggest you take a look at the Hume and Pacific Highways in Sydney, or the Burwood Highway in Melbourne, just for starters.

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