The creation of a dedicated continuous lane from the Cotter Road onto Adelaide Avenue will shave up to five minutes off travel times into the city from Weston Creek and the growing Molonglo Valley, and help reduce accidents, according to the ACT Government.
But the move has upset the Greens, Woden Valley Community Council and Pedal Power ACT.
Minister for Roads and Active Travel Chris Steel said the work, to be done as part of the scheduled resealing program next week when traffic would not yet be at peak levels, was a natural extension of the Cotter Road duplication completed in 2017.
“The true benefits of the Cotter duplication won’t be seen until we make sure that we have a continuous lane on Adelaide Avenue for traffic coming from the Cotter Road so we’re not seeing traffic banked up in the morning coming east,” he said.
Under the changes, the Cotter Road on-ramp will continue on to Adelaide Avenue and become the left-hand lane. The T2/Bus Lane will be discontinued for a distance and will merge with regular traffic in the middle lane, providing three lanes of traffic city-bound.
The T2/Bus Lane will be reinstated on Adelaide Avenue when the road opens up to four lanes just north of Hopetoun Circuit. No changes are being made to the Southbound lanes on Adelaide Avenue.
But the Greens have questioned the decision take out a 1.3km section of the bus lane, saying it encourages more private car use and is out-of-step with the Government’s climate action commitments.
“We should be building more bus lanes, and giving more priority to public transport and car-pooling. That is what will make our city more sustainable and less congested in the long run,” Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur said.
She said it should not be beyond the capabilities of the government to improve traffic flow without tearing up transit lanes.
The move has also upset the Woden Valley Community Council, which says it will increase bus travel times from Woden and Tuggeranong and is concerned about the impact on cyclists needing to cross to the cycling lane.
“Bus patronage from the south has already decreased by five per cent on weekdays since the introduction of Network 19 and the loss of the rapid service in the morning peak will also reduce the attractiveness of the service to the community,” it says.
Pedal Power ACT also says it has been flooded with calls from members and CEO Ian Ross says the new continuous lane will be much more difficult and dangerous to cross if vehicles are presumably now travelling even faster and not even looking out for other traffic as they won’t need to merge.
With the Cotter Road now carrying up to 25,000 vehicles a day, and traffic expected to grow to up to 35,000 cars by 2031 with the further development in the Molonglo Valley, the Government has been undertaking detailed traffic modelling on improvements to the road network on Adelaide Avenue and surrounding streets.
“Currently traffic from the Cotter Road has to merge with traffic on Adelaide Avenue, creating a bottleneck on both major roads,” Mr Steel said.
“The traffic modelling shows that the addition of a continuous lane on Adelaide Avenue from the Cotter Road on-ramp will improve traffic flow for Weston Creek and Molonglo commuters whilst not significantly affecting northbound traffic from Woden.”
Modelling shows commuters using Cotter Road will benefit from up to a five-minute reduction in their travel time during the morning peak periods, and commuters on Adelaide Avenue from Woden will only experience a five-second delay.
Mr Steel said bus users on the Cotter Road would also benefit from improved run times for Transport Canberra’s Rapid 7 and 10 services.
He said some motorists were also using Dudley Street to avoid merging with Adelaide Avenue from the Cotter Road and it was hoped the work would provide a better choice and reduce ‘rat-running’.
The $300,000 project will be delivered in two stages and involve resurfacing of the Adelaide Avenue stretch of road from Monday, 20 January. New line marking and signage will be installed, with the first stage expected to be completed before the start of the new school year in the first week of February 2020.
A second and final stage of works on Adelaide Avenue will be delivered a month later with final asphalt resurfacing and line marking.
Mr Steel also flagged other work in the area to improve traffic flows in and out of Yarralumla and Deakin, with new signallised intersections on Novar and Kent Streets.
Eventually, light rail stage 2 will occupy the median strip, freeing up the T2 lane for general traffic.