Traffic lights tweaked in bid to ease Molonglo’s morning traffic crush

Ian Bushnell 12 April 2021 67
Heavy traffic backed up in Coombs

The morning run out of Coombs to Tuggeranong Parkway through North Weston is slow going. Photo: File.

Traffic lights on Cotter Road have been tweaked in a bid to help keep morning traffic flowing out of the growing Molonglo suburbs.

The stretch from the dual carriageway of John Gorton Drive to Tuggeranong Parkway is proving a nightmare for morning commuters as it turns to gridlock as motorists hit multiple traffic lights.

ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the ACT Government is keeping a close watch on the situation in the Molonglo area, using strategic transport modelling to monitor traffic. He will present findings and future road plans that will give motorists more options at the next community meeting in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, Minister Steel said traffic signals at the Cotter Road and Dargie Street/Kirkpatrick Street intersection have recently been amended to improve traffic flow based on feedback from the Molonglo Valley Community Forum.

“The traffic signals team will continue to monitor and adjust the signal timings to optimise traffic movements from Weston and Molonglo,” he said. “Further measures to improve the operation of the traffic signals are currently being investigated.”

Minister Steel said the modelling includes monitoring traffic congestion and the extent of delays, as well as how traffic can be improved as the region grows.

He said fewer people taking the bus, combined with the many people moving into the area, has exacerbated the traffic issues.

“Due to COVID-19 health advice, patronage on public transport is still around 24 per cent down and this has seen road traffic increase to beyond pre-pandemic levels in major cities across Australia, including Canberra,” said Minister Steel.

Map of proposed new Molonglo roads

The proposed new roads in and out of Molonglo. Image: ACT Government.

He listed a number of projects underway to alleviate traffic issues in the Weston Creek and Molonglo areas.

Design planning is being done to improve safety at the intersections of Heysen Street and Streeton Drive, and Namatjira Drive and Streeton Drive in Weston, and concept designs are due to be finalised by mid-2021.

Traffic lights may be introduced at both intersections to manage traffic flow.

Road upgrades are either at the planning, feasibility or design stages, with construction to follow, including the John Gorton Drive 3C extension and building of the bridge over the Molonglo River to provide a new alternative arterial road in and out of the Molonglo Valley.

Minister Steel said this project will also build a new signalised intersection, providing access to the future Molonglo Group Centre.

“We are also duplicating William Hovell Drive, undertaking feasibility studies on South West Corridor upgrades, including capacity upgrades to Tuggeranong Parkway from Molonglo to the city, and have early planning work for a new east-west arterial road from John Gorton Drive to a new grade-separated interchange on the Tuggeranong Parkway,” he said.

Planning is also underway for the future Molonglo Stage 3 development, including building a new arterial road connection, with a dedicated public transport lane, from John Gorton Drive to Bindubi Street.

This follows the duplication of Cotter Road, and the changes, in 2020, to provide a dedicated on-ramp from Cotter Road to Adelaide Avenue, as well as the construction of the John Gorton Drive 3A and 3B extension projects.

Minister Steel will make a presentation on this work at the Molonglo Valley Community Forum’s meeting on 22 April at Charles Weston School, which will focus on transport, city services and urban design issues.

He will be joined by ACT Government architect Catherine Townsend.


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67 Responses to Traffic lights tweaked in bid to ease Molonglo’s morning traffic crush
Ol L Ol L 3:09 pm 17 Apr 21

Maybe if we do nothing another government will be in power when it all blows up, so let’s do nothing in the meantime

Richard Arranz Richard Arranz 9:37 pm 16 Apr 21

20 years of Labor Government...same happens in Gunghalin. Bring back the NCDC.

Chad Jackson Chad Jackson 11:11 pm 14 Apr 21

Canberra used to have the best and quietest roads. Stop breeding like rabbits

mark boast mark boast 12:38 pm 13 Apr 21

Dedicated bus lane to include the usual taxis, motorcycles, two up cars. Get the bike paths sorted so they are direct and attractive to use. Bingo!

Andrew Nolan Andrew Nolan 7:10 am 13 Apr 21

Canberra traffic lights are famous!

Sally Greenaway Sally Greenaway 5:49 am 13 Apr 21

Please can we start a movement to improve traffic lights in Canberra everywhere? Given our capabilities in smarter technology, can't we please have an overhaul improvement Canberra-wide to aid traffic flow? The current red wave system is shocking. Other countries do it better, time for us to improve!

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:58 am 17 Apr 21

    Sally Greenaway There used to be a really good paper on traffic light sychronisation in Canberra on the web. I've just tried to look for it but cannot find it.

    The upshot of that article is the lights are at peak hour more syncronised more than people actually think and the goal of getting a full run of green is actually impossible to achieve as you need to allow for traffic to enter from side roads. What they do is synchronise to maximise traffic flow.

    Finally Relented Finally Relented 7:57 am 17 Apr 21

    Try no synchronisation in Gungahlin where you have about 20m between lights!

    Sally Greenaway Sally Greenaway 8:02 am 17 Apr 21

    I don't want a full run. I just want groups of lights working together, smarter technology that reads the traffic and enables rather than restricts all the time with red wave approach, and taking a nod to other smarter countries and trying to improve.

    Finally Relented Finally Relented 8:04 am 17 Apr 21

    It's causing red light runners...seen soooooooo many over the past few months. Everywhere. Maybe just no patience any more

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 2:47 pm 17 Apr 21

    Sally Greenaway as I said above they actually do that and have done so for a good 30 years. They use a system called SCATs that was developed by the NSW RTA.

    The issue though is peoples expectations don’t match the reality of how traffic flows are managed.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 2:57 pm 17 Apr 21

    Sally Greenaway found the article.

    https://www.cityservices.act.gov.au/roads-and-paths/traffic/trafficsignals/drakeford_drive

    Finally Relented Finally Relented 8:27 am 18 Apr 21

    Ashley Wright yeah. Know that. Lived here all my life pretty much. They don't work any more. Much better 10-20 years ago. Planning roads has gone to shite....

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:43 am 18 Apr 21

    Finally Relented less traffic 10-20 years ago too. Plays a big part of if. And building bigger roads isn’t the answer.

    Finally Relented Finally Relented 10:00 am 18 Apr 21

    Ashley Wright doesn't change thoughtless planning.

Jaffa Groube Jaffa Groube 3:55 pm 12 Apr 21

They have just finished duplicating Gundaroo Dr from the town centre to the Barton Hwy, only took 20 years. But don't panic Molonglo, they'll finish the John Gorton Bridge and clog up William Hovell Dr instead.

Tom Walsh Tom Walsh 12:56 pm 12 Apr 21

Now can you fix every other traffic light in Canberra. So many are out of whack.

Jube Mann Jube Mann 12:45 pm 12 Apr 21

Maybe the next tram should go there instead.

Jitterry Jitterry 10:48 am 12 Apr 21

Learnt literally nothing from Gungahlin and the catch up on road works. Plus Gininderry, Whitlam, Parkes Way is going to be more of a nightmare. Do we have a solution, maybe do the work before it gets out of hand.

Cal Falconer Cal Falconer 9:52 am 12 Apr 21

Imagine developing a district with one way in and one way out in the 21st century

Robbie Trickett Robbie Trickett 9:45 am 12 Apr 21

Still won the flag though

Dja JoeJoshuaSam

Jamie Williams Jamie Williams 8:49 am 12 Apr 21

Get on a bike and avoid the traffic 🚲

Scott Coulson Scott Coulson 8:40 am 12 Apr 21

The 2 northbound lanes of John Gorton should never have needed to be impacted by the Streeton traffic lights. The 2 lanes could easily have gone to the left of the intersection with a merge further along or 4 lanes all the way to the Parkway.

    Alan Campbell Alan Campbell 4:48 pm 13 Apr 21

    Agreed. I don't stop when on my bike and just use the bike lane as a slip lane.

Paul Campbell Paul Campbell 8:35 am 12 Apr 21

In these days of smart watches etc, they can’t manage smart traffic lights that string together to keep traffic flow

Charles Godworth Charles Godworth 8:08 am 12 Apr 21

Ahh ACT Government planning at it's finest. Cram thousands of dog boxes into new suburbs and have 1 lane outta the place. Chris steel took on this portfolio with no experience, he lacks basic life skills and the taxpayers end up with traffic gridlock

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 7:17 am 12 Apr 21

I guess he can tinker at the margins and things will improve a little until the next school term resumes, the Federal Parliament Budget session starts or the next serious crash occurs. I guess there will be no mention of the extra traffic movements generated by the servo/fast food outlets or the noticeably high proportion of single occupant vehicles. No mention of the lack of transit or bus lanes or the other traffic controlled intersections on this road. But, by all means, go ahead and tinker with the traffic light sequencing at this intersection.

    John Tozer John Tozer 8:34 am 12 Apr 21

    Bill Gemmell - Those traffic engineers study for years to come up with these models!

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:36 am 12 Apr 21

    John Kerry Tozer sarcasm noted!

    Richard Arranz Richard Arranz 1:18 am 17 Apr 21

    well said Bill Gemmell...so accurate.

nerdfrenzy nerdfrenzy 7:15 am 12 Apr 21

Welcome to nightmare that it is the poor road design and management in Canberra. Gungahlin residents have been dealing with this for many many years. At least the Molonglo area had dual lanes implemented before anyone was living out there.

Brooke Louise Brooke Louise 7:11 am 12 Apr 21

Right hand turn to yamba from Adelaide Avenue, three lanes the whole way??? The gooseneck and right hand turns to curtin is what grinds it to a holt.

Michael Ahern Michael Ahern 6:47 am 12 Apr 21

Who’d have thunk it? Thousands of homes built without a commensurate upgrade to the road infrastructure equals traffic chaos. Maybe they are using the same ‘strategic modeling’ as used in Gungahlin. Nice touch blaming it on the pandemic though rather than the usual poor planning and lack of investment in roads.

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