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New traffic lights at Barton Hwy and Kuringa Drive intersection – Incompetence at its best???

By Ralpho - 29 September 2011 23

The new traffic lights being constructed at the Barton Highway and Kuringa Drive intersection must be the biggest joke in Canberra.  This evening it took me (and most of Canberra) 45 minutes to travel 2 kms up the Highway from the Gundaroo Drive roundabout past the new intersection.

Why?  Not because of an accident in the wet conditions.  Because new traffic lights are installed and the highway is only one lane through the road works.  The situation is made worst because the phases of the lights are such that they seem to be giving priority to Kuringa Drive traffic.  Now that is not a big problem – Kuringa Drive needs to get across the highway and has had its shares of backlogs – but a 2km backlog on the highway to make sure that there are no more than 5 cars waiting on Kuringa Drive does not seem right.

I doubt that getting the two lanes back once the construction traffic is fixed will be any better.  Given the speed that it takes to get ACT roads to do anything we will probably have one lane of traffic and a 10 second green light for the second major highway exit out of Canberra for the next few months. 

Did the ACT Government or their contractor think about this before they turned on the lights?

It must be a new way of slowing down the traffic going up the hill past the speed camera – its working guys!!

What’s Your opinion?


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23 Responses to
New traffic lights at Barton Hwy and Kuringa Drive intersection – Incompetence at its best???
Chop71 3:09 pm 29 Sep 11

Spectra said :

Chop71 said :

I really don’t see how this intersection is that different to the one 2km down the road with the big roundabout that seems to work fine…. except when the odd truck tips onto it’s side

In many ways, it’s not. And have you seen the queue to get out of Gungahlin in the morning, even when there’s no queue on the Barton Hwy? It demonstrates exactly what I was talking about – the traffic coming along the highway tends to starve access to those coming from Gungahlin. Just because that intersection is not a good configuration, though, doesn’t mean the same mistake should be made further up the road.

Good job Al, and credit where it’s due to the roads people for reversing their stuff-up relatively quickly. It’s a mistake that should never have been made, and caused some serious inconvenience, but absent the ability to turn back time you really can’t ask for more than has now been done.

ahh, light up the road would make breaks in traffic for Gunners residents on the roundabout.

Good thinking, but as I look into my crystal ball I see bridges and/or fly overs for both intersections in 10-20 years time. (or people asking for them when the lights slow them down to a crawl)

Little_Green_Bag 2:47 pm 29 Sep 11

Ah, Kuringa Drive, built over the top of the old Ginninderra School House Restaurant. I remember in the 1970s my father tried to book a table there and it wasn’t in the phone book. He phoned directory assistance and was told it was listed under E – for “1883 Ginninderra School House Restaurant”.

johnboy 2:23 pm 29 Sep 11

Citynews is reporting they’ve been turned off now.

Spectra 1:18 pm 29 Sep 11

Chop71 said :

I really don’t see how this intersection is that different to the one 2km down the road with the big roundabout that seems to work fine…. except when the odd truck tips onto it’s side

In many ways, it’s not. And have you seen the queue to get out of Gungahlin in the morning, even when there’s no queue on the Barton Hwy? It demonstrates exactly what I was talking about – the traffic coming along the highway tends to starve access to those coming from Gungahlin. Just because that intersection is not a good configuration, though, doesn’t mean the same mistake should be made further up the road.

Good job Al, and credit where it’s due to the roads people for reversing their stuff-up relatively quickly. It’s a mistake that should never have been made, and caused some serious inconvenience, but absent the ability to turn back time you really can’t ask for more than has now been done.

Bosworth 12:55 pm 29 Sep 11

thanks for that action, Al.

Chop71 12:22 pm 29 Sep 11

Spectra said :

Chop71 said :

Although I am probably never going to be stuck at those lights, I would have thought another roundabout would have been the solution. Not like we have a shortage of them in Canberra

This has been discussed a couple of times in the past here, but the short version is that the most appropriate type of intersection depends very heavily on the exact nature of the traffic flow – specifically the volume coming from each direction. In certain cases, a round-about can starve one approach of any access during busy periods. Traffic lights, while allowing less volume overall because of pauses, can be timed to provide much better “fairness”.

I really don’t see how this intersection is that different to the one 2km down the road with the big roundabout that seems to work fine…. except when the odd truck tips onto it’s side

yellowsnow 11:58 am 29 Sep 11

Gungahlin Al said :

I talked with Tony Gill about this already and posted the following feedback on http://www.facebook.com/gungahlin about 8am this morning:

+1 . I was about to post that emailing Tony Gill is just about the only thing you can do in this town and be confident you’re being listened to. hopefully he’ll at least acknowledges and solve the problem, eveyone else just puts their head in the sand.

Spectra said :

Chop71 said :

Although I am probably never going to be stuck at those lights, I would have thought another roundabout would have been the solution. Not like we have a shortage of them in Canberra

This has been discussed a couple of times in the past here, but the short version is that the most appropriate type of intersection depends very heavily on the exact nature of the traffic flow – specifically the volume coming from each direction. In certain cases, a round-about can starve one approach of any access during busy periods. Traffic lights, while allowing less volume overall because of pauses, can be timed to provide much better “fairness”.

other reason traffic lights are favoured on busy roads is they create gaps in the traffic, benefitting people who try to join or cross road downstream

Gungahlin Al 11:38 am 29 Sep 11

I talked with Tony Gill about this already and posted the following feedback on http://www.facebook.com/gungahlin about 8am this morning:

“We had staff out there last night and will make necessary adjustments to the timings and arrangements out there today.
I am sorry about the inconvenience this has caused and we will seek to address it as quickly as we can today.”

And:

“After a further review of the traffic lights this morning we will be reinstating the previous arrangement until sufficient lane capacity is available at the intersection – while the lights were introduced to improve safety at the location there is not sufficient lane capacity there at present for them to work.”

So hopefully a better run for everyone tonight…

Spectra 11:20 am 29 Sep 11

Chop71 said :

Although I am probably never going to be stuck at those lights, I would have thought another roundabout would have been the solution. Not like we have a shortage of them in Canberra

This has been discussed a couple of times in the past here, but the short version is that the most appropriate type of intersection depends very heavily on the exact nature of the traffic flow – specifically the volume coming from each direction. In certain cases, a round-about can starve one approach of any access during busy periods. Traffic lights, while allowing less volume overall because of pauses, can be timed to provide much better “fairness”.

p1 11:14 am 29 Sep 11

It would have been a pretty good place to put a bridge over the highway. But I guess they cost a lot of money and occasionally fall down.

brento 11:13 am 29 Sep 11

Smacking a set of lights in what was a free flowing 80km/h zone that borders a 100km/h zone seems like a severely retarded solution. There’s heaps of unused land around that intersection that they could have used for a roundabout. Instead they’ll be punishing commuters from Murrumbateman and surrounds twice a day.

Thoroughly Smashed 10:43 am 29 Sep 11

Nice rant bro

Chop71 10:22 am 29 Sep 11

Although I am probably never going to be stuck at those lights, I would have thought another roundabout would have been the solution. Not like we have a shortage of them in Canberra

EvanJames 9:55 am 29 Sep 11

Welcome to what the users of Pialligo Ave get to experience every weekday morning, since they installed the traffic lights at Fairbairn. The road quickly backs up to Queanbeyan, on bad days back past the BP service station.

The arrant stupidity of putting traffic lights on roads that are already bumper-to-bumper is breathtaking. The looooong line of traffic stops, and cars and trucks continue to join the back.

There are horrible rear-enders on that road regularly, as cars and trucks are doing highways speeds when they suddenly meet the stationary line.

The local radio last night was quite excited about the Barton Highway mess, but the Pialligo Ave mess goes for 5+ kilometres. And there’s no respite in sight, I know of no plans to put in a slip lane around the lights.

Spectra 9:44 am 29 Sep 11

I wondered how long it would take this morning before we had a post on this 🙂 (I was within a few minutes of writing one myself). Took me half an hour to get from the roundabout to Kuringa drive, and I started at 5 so peak hour hadn’t even really kicked in yet. This is a journey that, even on the worst days, normally takes 3 minutes or so.
I’m sure the finished product (two lanes, proper timing) will be all well and good, but it’s abundantly clear that whoever took the decision to turn on the lights yesterday, with the timings and lane arrangements as they were, needs some serious words said to them.

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