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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!!


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23 Responses to
New traffic lights at Barton Hwy and Kuringa Drive intersection – Incompetence at its best???
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Chop71 2:33 pm 07 Dec 11

Felix the Cat said :

wallabyted said :

I think the money would have been better spent duplicating Kuringa Dr to reduce the likelyhood of further accidents like that my daughter was involved in on Kuringa last year in march. Kuringa has had provisioning in place for duplication for about 30 years that I know of. I wonder how long they will take to duplicate it once they open the gungahlin access ?

Both Kuringa Dr and William Slim Dr need to be duplicated and/or realigned.

+1

wallabyted 7:02 am 15 Oct 11

Agreed, and with all the money they spent messing with Aikman and the money poured into developing that bank of lake Gininderra, one would think they could have eaily duplicated the small remaining section of Aikman dr. Don’t the planning approvers ever make big business remediate infrastructure anymore ?
The stupid set of traffic lights they put at the Joy Cummings place intersection often backs up traffic dangerously. The access to Aikman Dr for that whole area would have been better via Townsend Pl than another intersection on Aikman.

Felix the Cat 1:22 pm 12 Oct 11

wallabyted said :

I think the money would have been better spent duplicating Kuringa Dr to reduce the likelyhood of further accidents like that my daughter was involved in on Kuringa last year in march. Kuringa has had provisioning in place for duplication for about 30 years that I know of. I wonder how long they will take to duplicate it once they open the gungahlin access ?

Both Kuringa Dr and William Slim Dr need to be duplicated and/or realigned.

wallabyted 12:28 pm 12 Oct 11

“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“”
The reduction of effectiveness of the Giralang roundabout at peak times is probably more due to the lowering of the Barton highway speed limits near federation square (ie traffic bunches up), the lack of duplication of Gungahlin and Giralang access roads and the currently road work at the Barton Hwy/Kuringa Dr intersection. A better solution though would be a roundabout and maybe later something like the part time lights they have installed on the Drakeford Dr/Athilon Dr roundabout at Tuggeranong to “feed the starving”, since the traffic at this intersection will be initially similar to what the Giralang roundabout experienced 20 years ago (and coped well with). Roundabouts are more green more often than traffic lights – in more than one way. I have heard figures like $250,000 bandied about for the cost of a set of lights (I’m not sure if this is accurate) – but of course this is not the end of the bills since you have to pay for electricity and maintenance contracts on top of that. I think the money would have been better spent duplicating Kuringa Dr to reduce the likelyhood of further accidents like that my daughter was involved in on Kuringa last year in march. Kuringa has had provisioning in place for duplication for about 30 years that I know of. I wonder how long they will take to duplicate it once they open the gungahlin access ?

hawker 5:59 am 30 Sep 11

Wow! Common sense prevails. This was very annoying to say the least. I mean, everything was flowing great until yesterday!

If they were really that worried about accidents, they could perhaps attempt to not only give a better line of sight, but add something reflective to the barricades (if they do have something reflective, I’m missing it), and how about some cops patrolling it once in a blue moon? Not that many people do 60 through there. Sticking an electronic sign up telling you to slow down, doesn’t make people slow down.

Some more common sense should be in order!

Ralpho 9:26 pm 29 Sep 11

Congrats to ACT Roads and Tony Gill for hearing the complaints and fixing it. Sad that like the Kings Avenue overpass asphalt seal it seems they only find out that something won’t work after the event.

Drive home tonight was good (once you crawl through Northbourne Avenue’s many traffic lights – don’t get me started on that one). Not many cars waiting on Kuringa Drive and the 3 that were there were getting through easily. Roads ACT’s explanation to me is set out below. Seems that they were trying to reduce the chances of an accident – this could be helped by improving the line of sights for vehicles going through the intersection. The barricades are very high.

“Roads ACT apologises for the delays these temporary arrangements have caused and have issued a direction to the contractor to reinstate the previous arrangements, i.e. switch off the traffic lights, until there is adequate lane capacity in place for traffic lights to work efficiently.

The previous arrangements with no traffic lights will be in place for the evening peak this afternoon.

The major intersection works at the intersection of Barton Highway and Kuringa Drive have been underway for a number of months- the works are associated with the land release at Casey and will provide another access point to Gungahlin. This is a $20 million project funded as part of the capital works program and will be completed early in the new year.

As there have been a number of crashes associated with the temporary traffic arrangements the contractor was keen to install temporary traffic lights to improve the safety of the intersection.
Roads ACT assisted in progressing this temporary arrangement, however after observing the arrangements on site last night and this morning Roads ACT consider there is not sufficient lane capacity available at the location at present for traffic lights to work without causing major delays – which is self defeating in terms of trying to improve the situation.
Regards,
Municipal Services
13 22 81″

Little_Green_Bag 5:27 pm 29 Sep 11

Spectra said :

Little_Green_Bag said :

Ah, Kuringa Drive, built over the top of the old Ginninderra School House Restaurant.

Really? I’d never heard of that place, and I’m always interested in Canberra historical tid-bits. Tell me everything you know. Please 🙂

My bad. It seems the Ginninderra Schoolhouse still exists but it is now used for arts and crafts. It is part of Ginninderra Village, which I think also contains Cockington Green and the George Harcourt Inn. So not everything was bulldozed when Belco and Gunners were built.

Perhaps someone on the north side closer to the action can provide further information. You can tell I’m a southern boy 🙂

Spectra 3:46 pm 29 Sep 11

Little_Green_Bag said :

Ah, Kuringa Drive, built over the top of the old Ginninderra School House Restaurant.

Really? I’d never heard of that place, and I’m always interested in Canberra historical tid-bits. Tell me everything you know. Please 🙂

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

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