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.