12 April 2021

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

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

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!

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.

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.

Stephen Saunders5:12 am 12 Apr 21

Don’t you just love the standard Australian approach to urban development? Developers buy off governments, cash in on the endless green fields, and leave the punters to sort out the transit and services for themselves.

Contrast the 21st century McMansions of Denman “Prospect” and the 19th century bullock-track over Coppins’ Crossing – the main route back to town.

ChrisinTurner1:55 pm 11 Apr 21

More people would use the bus if it didn’t get stuck in the same traffic jams. A bus lane is needed urgently.

Too right. They took away some of the dedicated Bus lane on Adelaide Ave to accomodate the extra Molonglo Valley traffic. This government has been making things worse for Bus users not better.

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