29 February 2024

Town centre plans offer hope for Molonglo's long-suffering road worriers

| Ian Bushnell
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Line of vehicles on road

Slow going for Molonglo Valley traffic on Cotter Road heading to the city. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

It’s a little after 8 am and the daily chug out of Molonglo towards the city is hardly moving.

There are only two ways out of Canberra’s newest and fast-growing district, but when commuters need to get to the city, John Gorton Drive is a river of cars flowing into the Cotter Road/Streeton confluence and a string of traffic lights before opening out beyond the Tuggeranong Parkway.

The construction of the Molonglo River Bridge and completion of the northern end of John Gorton Drive by the end of 2025 will transform the run to Belconnen, and to the city via William Hovell Drive.

But without an alternative route out of the southern end for city and Tuggeranong bound drivers, the traffic logjam will only intensify as Molonglo’s population builds on its current 12,000 or so residents.

Transport Minister Chris Steel’s Molonglo River Bridge press conference this week brought some hope for commuters that the government is moving ahead with the long-planned east-west arterial that will offer an alternative route to the Tuggeranong Parkway.

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Mr Steel revealed that the Suburban Land Agency’s estate development plan for the new town centre to be released later in the year would include road connections to the proposed east-west arterial but he remained non-committal on when that might take shape.

“So they will start to build out that road which will connect with Holborow Avenue in Denman Prospect and then eventually that will connect out to the Tuggeranong Parkway through another bridge across the Molonglo River,” he said.

“So we’re looking at the timing of that project and when it will be needed as part of the development of the new town centre.”

A map of the Molonglo Valley showing planned development, including new roads.

A map of the Molonglo Valley showing planned development, including new roads. Image: ACT Government.

The first land release for the town centre is due to take place in 2024-25.

Mr Steel also said other roads from Molonglo were planned to connect John Gorton Drive with Bindubi Street on William Hovell Drive.

The map of a future Molonglo Valley provided in the District Strategy shows the east-west arterial cutting across the Molonglo River Reserve and along the southern edge of the National Arboretum to a section of the Tuggeranong Parkway north of the Cotter Road ramps.

One observer has called this threading the eye of the needle.

But this is indicative only and the government says this alignment is subject to change.

The map also shows two roads from John Gorton Drive servicing yet to be named new suburbs, with one heading south to the arterial and the other going north to William Hovel Road.

READ ALSO End of flood-prone Coppins Crossing in sight as work starts on Molonglo River Bridge project

Molonglo Valley Community Forum convenor Ryan Hemsley welcomed the news but was circumspect, being realistic about how long it may actually take to achieve.

“We’re very much looking forward to plans for the future east-west arterial connecting Holborow Avenue and Denman Prospect out to the Tuggeranong Parkway,” he said.

“This is obviously the next big Molonglo River Bridge project. But I think for the residents of Molonglo just completing the first one is going to be a significant achievement.”

For those enduring the peak time frustration it can’t come soon enough.

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The obvious infrastructure for the projected population such as roads and power lines should have been put in place before the first dwelling was built.

Linda Seaniger7:13 pm 03 Mar 24

Can we help please have a legend on the map? we never really get a decent plan of what new development is proposed for example, what is the aqua striped areas more development? But in answer to peoples comments about the huge traffic jams We have every morning my travel varies but as I move slowly along Cottor Road, and Adelaide Avenue it is rare if I see a bus travelling anywhere in the direction I’m travelling. Occasionally I see one bus moving in the opposite direction and yet this corridor services for Tuggeranong Woden Molonglo and Weston Creek. The answer is simple. We don’t have enough buses travelling in the direction we need to travel to meet our time requirements. Run services direct, not through Woden and Civic for the whole of Southern Canberra.

Anyone been to the developments behind Red Hill shops?

Anyway else ask; why can’t we have this density, height and quality for all of Canberra, in town centres, instead of the slap-up crap we seen in Molonglo Valley, Belco and Gungahs?

Developers run this town

hopefully better planned and executed than the Coombs shops

Great, more traffic on William Hovell after Coulter drive. This road banks up to Holt all the way to the Glenlock interchange, and now I understand they’re going to make Bindubi into a crossroads with traffic coming from Molonglo. This is just a Clusterf$#ck. I don’t know what duplicating William Hovell will achieve, the Parkway is where more lanes are needed

One would assume the new town center will be another disjointed amalgamation of buildings like Gungahlan, rather than one coherent arrangement like Woden/Tugg/ Belco suitable to the ACT environment and weather.

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