The morning peak hour rush out of the new and still growing Molonglo Valley suburbs is proving anything but as the bumper-to-bumper traffic comes to a standstill on the Cotter Road approach to the Tuggeranong Parkway.
Molonglo Valley Community Forum spokesperson Ryan Hemsley says the length of the morning commute is becoming a significant issue as drivers take 15 to 20 minutes getting from the outskirts of Coombs and Wright to the Parkway.
It may be dual carriageway from Denman Prospect to Weston and beyond, but drivers are running the gauntlet through multiple sets of lights, and the main culprit appears to be the signalised intersection in North Weston near the service station.
Mr Hemsley suspects that motorists from Streeton Drive are rat-running through North Weston to avoid the congestion of the Cotter Road intersection and then emerging at the Dargie Street/Cotter Road intersection and triggering the lights.
These excessive cycles may be disrupting the Cotter flow and creating gridlock.
“It can’t continue to be a short cut, as convenient as it is for those people, for much longer,” Mr Hemsley says.
With another 10,000 residents expected in Molonglo by the end of the year as a pipeline of projects is completed, Mr Hemsley says Transport Canberra and City Services needs to take some action.
He says that long-term, the planned Molonglo River Bridge will provide another dual-carriageway route out of Molonglo and relieve some of the pressure, but that is five years away.
Whether it be changing the traffic light sequencing, pacifying the rat run with speed humps or extending the turning lane into the service station, Mr Hemsley believes there are probably short-term solutions that need not cost a lot of money.
“These are things that might not cost us millions of dollars, and they might not necessarily fix the issue, but they are worth investigating whether there are some short-term solutions to what no doubt will be a long-term issue,” he says.
“We’ll wait and see what options will be investigated, but it’s not going to be tenable for the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate to sit on their hands for too much longer.”
Transport Canberra and City Services Minister Chris Steel may have some answers when he attends the Forum’s April meeting.
The Forum will hold its first public meeting next week as it prepares to transition to a community council by 1 July.