13 May 2024

Long-promised upgrades to major Tuggeranong roads underway

| James Coleman
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sign on side of road

The southern section of Athllon Drive between Drakeford and Sulwood drives will be two lanes in each direction. Photo: Google Maps.

The ACT Government has announced progress on two significant road upgrades for Tuggeranong, months out from the election.

Sulwood Drive, which links Drakeford and Athllon drives, has already been off limits for a week as construction crews work on what’s expected to be a three-month project.

The two-lane road includes several intersections with suburban streets in Kambah, as well as access to the main carpark for the popular Mount Taylor hike.

New raised pedestrian crossings were installed at the entrances to Inkster Street and Livingston Avenue – along with new street lighting – in the middle of last year.

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The next package of work is separated into two stages.

Traffic lights and turn lanes will be installed at the Mannheim Street intersection directly opposite the Mount Taylor carpark, and the tarmac 500 metres on each side will be “rehabilitated”.

A new shared path, four kilometres long and three metres wide, will then be built along the southern side of Sulwood Drive.

“There are currently no off-road nor formal on-road active travel facilities on this section of Sulwood Drive, a key missing link in our cycling and walking network,” Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) Minister Tara Cheyne said.

In 2018, the ACT Government converted part of the verge along Sulwood Drive to create a more formal carpark for Mount Taylor, replacing the rutted dirt surface with graded recycled asphalt and creating defined entry and exit points “for safer access and egress for parking”.

concept art of roadwork

The upgrades are said to provide better pedestrian access to Mount Taylor. Image: ACT Government.

Three years later, in 2021, then TCCS Minister Chris Steel announced upgrades to Sulwood Drive itself, which would further “improve active travel facilities and provide safer parking access for Canberrans who use the Mount Taylor nature reserve”.

The government said feasibility studies had “ruled out” a four-way roundabout for the Mannheim Street intersection, as it would cut into the carpark and not support safe pedestrian crossings of the 80 km/h road.

“There are currently no safe spots to cross Sulwood Drive for pedestrians and cyclists wanting to access Mount Taylor for exercise and recreation,” Mr Steel said at the time.

“A traffic light intersection is the safest solution for pedestrians and cyclists … and would provide safer right-turning movements out of Mannheim Street for vehicles.”

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In response to a question about when the rest of the road surface along Sulwood Drive will be repaired, Ms Cheyne told Region the road had been “identified as a high-priority road” as part of the government’s “regular program of road rehabilitation work”.

Pavement analysis showed the section around Mannheim Street was in “particular need” due to water runoff from the Mount Taylor carpark.

The road is scheduled to reopen by Monday, 13 August, weather permitting.

“We acknowledge this road closure will be disruptive for the local community,” Ms Cheyne said.

“A full road closure for 13 weeks avoids extended partial closures, which would create even longer disruption … We will be monitoring traffic impacts during the closure and will make changes to measures such as signal timing if required.”

Detours are in place during the Sulwood Drive closure. Photo: ACT Government.

Eight years after it was initially promised in the lead-up to the 2016 election – and again in 2020 – Athllon Drive is also back on the list.

The government has revealed preliminary designs to duplicate the southern section of Athllon Drive between Drakeford and Sulwood drives, making it two lanes in each direction.

Traffic lights will be added to the Langdon Avenue/Atkins Street, Vosper Street and Fincham Crescent intersections, and part-time traffic lights at the Sulwood Drive roundabout are also “proposed”.

Bus stops along Athllon Drive will also be upgraded, and new ones added, and the C4 cycle route improved with a new underpass beneath Sulwood Drive.

A detailed design is also underway to duplicate the northern section between Hindmarsh and Melrose drives in Woden, with preliminary designs to come.

Ms Cheyne told Region the project “remains on track” and “construction timing will be confirmed … following the completion of a detailed design”.

The government is holding information sessions for the community to “view and discuss” the designs ahead of planning and environmental approval.

The first session will be held on Monday, 20 May, from 4 pm to 5:30 pm at the Tuggeranong Library, and the second on Saturday, 25 May, from 10 am to 12 pm at Wanniassa Shops.

For more information, visit the ACT City Services website.

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I at least hope that they finally realised to put the sensors to activate the light s a bit down the road. This prevents drivers from having to do a full stop to trigger the lights, and result in saving fuel and brakes and reduced noise pollution to the neighborhood

Get us a dedicated cycle path next to the monaro. That would make a difference

Why put the cycleway on the southside of Sulwood? It’s like they want it to cross more major roads

The area is a designated fire gap. Theywouldn’t want to put it north and have no trees because it would look bad in PR photos

Keyboard Warrior4:58 pm 13 May 24

The purple signs in the photo of this article went up four years ago!
Ready yourself for more pre-election lies, they can’t even maintain this road let alone duplicate it!

Quicker than you can say ‘election coming’ ACT Labor starts the pork barreling…

Who are they pork barreling? I’m yet to find someone that wanted this over the pot holes being fixed.
This just proves that the south always get shafted.

Long overdue! It’s a wonder that there hasn’t been major major accidents in this area.

Great, more signs to fade under four years of sun…waiting, waiting

Thought bubble… majority of Tuggeranong residents are leaning centre right (Liberal voters)… hence why spend money when it is easier to porkbarrel in other town centres. 😉

If you look at the number of new traffic lights in the Athllon Drive duplication, it’s obvious that the Government’s intends to convert a one-lane traffic jam into a two-lane traffic jam. Surely they could come up with something better than this in eight years.

Further, no extension of the Lie Trail to Tuggeranong is yet being discussed, but I’m sure it will come about eventually. The proposed duplication plans make no provision for it for it, though Athllon Drive would be the obvious route. Getting ahead of the game isn’t the Governments forté.

I also note that the two public engagement exercise are information sessions and not advertised as being “consulation.” The Government is finally admitting the we will get what we get, like it or lump it.

GrumpyGrandpa6:42 pm 13 May 24

Ok, I’m not a fan of LR Woden to the City, because of the extra commute time vs jumping the bus, but you raise an interesting point.

The government promised to duplicate Athllon Drive in 2016, but now that LR is their preferred method of public transport, you could be excused for thinking that they would scrap it and extend LR from Woden to Tuggers.

Given they are actually now talking about pending the money duplicating a road for us filthy ICE car drivers to use, there must be no plans to bring LR to Tuggers for many, many, decades.

Keep voting for these people. Keep getting the same pre-election promises.

Gregg Heldon7:01 am 13 May 24

I’m sorry, but that is not progressing construction on Athllon Drive. When does construction start? That’s all Tuggeranong residents want to know. But allow me to be cynical and say “about six months before the next election”.

How the can the Minister honestly say that the Athllon Drive duplication remains on track, when it was promised 8 years ago?

Shame this article doesn’t include excuses from the Minster on why it’s taken 8 years to get to the point of detailed designs rather than a fully duplicated road.

The cyclist crossing where there are no or very few cyclists seems new and completely random. Residents have been asking about potholes for years. Potholes got ignored and now we have lights.

The upgrades on Athlon drive haven’t started, its still in the design phase as it was at the last election and the election before that.

At the election before that the Liberals supported it.
Tuggeranong only gets the scraps when they need their vote to count.

The Sulwood Drive works cannot be, on any measure, considered an “upgrade”.

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