Perhaps the most prevalent and frustrating sign in Canberra is ‘Roadworks Ahead’. Every major road and a lot of minor streets appear to be under a continuous state of repair.
I have even come across places where a ‘roadworks ended’ sign is followed almost immediately by another ‘roadworks ahead’ sign. For much of the time there often seems to be a distinct lack of any workers or repairs happening.
This state of affairs is a source of increasing irritation to drivers as they negotiate stop signs, detours, long queues and anger from other drivers.
To increase the frustration, the length of time taken to complete any task, large or small, is often inordinately long. My favourite has been the redevelopment of Constitution Avenue in Civic. I would estimate that this relatively small project took around 3 ½ years to finish with a succession of diggings, levelling, re-edging, re-paving all in slow motion. Already there are claims from frustrated Action bus drivers that the turn from London Circuit into Constitution Ave is so tight that buses cannot turn easily or safely.
To compound the situation the revamped avenue has been opened onto busy Vernon Circle and, quite incredibly, traffic lights have been installed. I hope that motorists heading south from London Circuit round City Hill will be aware of these new traffic arrangements. I hope there is no major accident (possible rear ending) in the immediate future.
Contrast this with an example from China where recently a bridge was demolished and a new one installed/constructed in 48 hours which was longer than expected due to some unexpected bad weather!
There are numerous other examples throughout the city. I wonder who controls the work on these projects. Are Transport Canberra and City Cervices directing the program or are the unions having a major say?
There are other issues with roadworks that drive Canberra motorists to distraction. The resurfacing of streets does not always lead to a better surface and often loose gravel is left for motorists to complete the bonding work as they drive over the surface – usually with the loose gravel crunching against the underneath of the vehicle. Heavy rainfall seems to bring back the offending potholes with regularity.
Above all I suggest that there could be a moratorium on any new road works until the current program is completed. Fingers crossed but I am not holding my breath.