1 September 2021

Roads project to help weather-proof Arboretum set to start

| Ian Bushnell
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National Arboretum

The roads project will make the Arboretum more accessible, especially during and after wet weather. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Work is about to start upgrading the National Arboretum’s road network after the awarding of a contract to local company Dale & Hitchcock.

The project will help weather-proof the popular attraction and make it more accessible and safer.

With nearly 720,000 visitors last financial year, and the number expected to increase to a million in the next few years, the Arboretum is keen to ensure that all of the site and its forests and trails remain accessible, especially during and after wet weather.

The project will seal about 4.5 kilometres of internal road so vehicles can be safely driven throughout the site in wet weather and allow more experiences across the grounds.

An ACT Government spokesperson said Cork Oak Road would be fully sealed and turned into a dual carriageway with a 30-vehicle car park. The work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Other roads to be sealed included Deeks Drive (River Road), Totara Road and Depot Road.

There will also be more parking bays provided at the intersection of Totara and Forest Drive and a turnaround area for the Ngala bus at the end of River Road and the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP), and parking lay-bys along River Road.

But a second entrance to the Arboretum is not part of the project.

The Arboretum has long been lobbying the government for an alternative to the current main entrance off the Tuggeranong Parkway, which has struggled with traffic during major events.

The spokesperson said the contractors would take possession of the site next week, with physical works to commence around a week later.

The Arboretum plans to keep disruption to visitors to a minimum during the project.

“The Arboretum aims to maintain access to as many of the forests and trails as it can throughout the project,” the government spokesperson said.

“Access to the Cork Oak Forest and Remnant eucalypts and grasses Forest is to be retained for walkers, cyclists and equestrians throughout the project.”

Visitors should check the Arboretum’s Facebook page and website for information about any temporary closures.

The Commonwealth is providing $1.9 million through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (LRCI).

The roads project comes after the completion of a 500-space sealed and metered overflow car park.

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Unless you wear lycra, it’s only accessible by car and then you have to pay for parking.
The Botanical Gardens is the same.
How much more attractive for tourists (and locals) would these places be if there was public transport?

The pay parking cruels it for me. And what is that dreadful “wide brown land” sculpture? They should get rid of that for one thing.

Capital Retro3:53 pm 04 Sep 21

Yes, “Wide Brown Land” is from a historical and factual perspective which really doesn’t fit the contemporary view of global warming. I’m surprised it is still there, actually.

Perhaps change it to “wide rainbow land”?

I would love to see the National Arboretum remove ‘paid parking’ and plant some fruit tree’s in suitable areas – so that members of the public could pick the fruit.

You do realise the paid parking is basically your entrance fee?

Well I do steam past it occasionally , and I look longingly at the well kept orderly grasses and trees, and it reminds me of how this whole joint used to look once upon a time.

As for the 720 K visitors. Would like to suggest they are mainly locals taking their rellys up for a cup of coffee, and to take in the squillion dollar views. No one gives a hang about the trees.
Could have some sheeps and cattle grazing there for them to look at..much less expensive.

Capital Retro1:07 pm 04 Sep 21

A crematorium wouldn’t look out of place there.

Trees give you Oxygen to breathe.

Capital Retro3:47 pm 04 Sep 21

Yes, they convert that evil carbon dioxide stuff to oxygen.

Capital Retro10:53 am 04 Sep 21

What a joke.

The government can find money at will for their pet project yet can’t fund ongoing maintenance for the potholed roads all over Canberra.

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