Tuggeranong Parkway car trap misses out in Budget roads spend

Ian Bushnell 10 February 2021 41

Heading into the Tuggeranong Parkway car trap from the north. Photo: Lachlan Roberts.

There was a lot of money in the ACT Budget for roads but one notorious stretch of bitumen missed out despite the disproportionate impact any accident there seems to have on Canberra motorists.

Last year I wrote about the Tuggeranong Parkway car trap, that stretch of road between the Cotter Road and the Glenloch interchange where even a minor bingle in peak times can mean long delays and missed appointments, kick-offs, and flights, or just being late for work or getting home.

The red zones appear to be near the Arboretum where traffic merges, the Cotter Road off-ramp and the Lady Denman Drive ramps, and accidents invariably involve multiple collisions that take a long time to clear.

These things often come in clutches and the week before last there were two morning crunches – one blocking northbound lanes after a bang-up near the Cotter Road off-ramp that saw traffic backed up to Kambah, the other near the Lady Denman Drive off-ramp that left southbound lanes a car park.

One caller to ABC Radio said he was now a half hour late for a booking with no end in sight to the blockage, lamenting that there must be some design flaw that causes crashes and stops them being cleared more quickly.

Everyone will have their theories – longer merging lanes at off-ramps, more room at the verges, somehow creating more space at that awful cram just past the Arboretum where the speed limit changes, lanes converge and traffic merges from the left when some drivers are looking to veer that direction toward Belconnen. Or just bad driving.

The Government acknowledges that the Tuggeranong Parkway between Cotter Road and the Glenloch interchange is one of the busiest sections of road in the ACT, transporting about 40,000 vehicles per day. “However, this stretch of road doesn’t exist in isolation and the performance of Parkes Way is a significant factor in increasing the reliability of the Parkway,” a spokesperson for Roads Minister Chris Steel, a regular Parkway user, says.

The Government says it has focused on safety in the Budget with five major intersection upgrades and beginning the work to remove intersections along the Monaro Highway, as well as starting the work to fully duplicate Athllon Drive and William Hovell Drive.

The spokesperson says the Parkway and the Glenloch interchange will continue to be monitored and improvements made where needed, especially with the predicted increase in traffic from the Molonglo Valley development but changes to speed limits were not in the mix.

Traffic on the Tuggeranong Parkway was reduced to a crawl after a two-vehicle collision near the Cotter Road turn-off on a Saturday night last September. Another collision occurred when two cars rear-ended each other, causing further delays to traffic. File photo.

Roads ACT monitors the performance of all roads in the Territory and accident data is a leading driver in identifying priorities for improvements.

It says that in the last five years there have been 239 reported crashes on Tuggeranong Parkway adjacent to the Arboretum, while in the same period there have been 46 reported crashes at the on/off-ramps joining the Cotter Road and the Tuggeranong Parkway. Most of these crashes, thankfully, involved property damage only.

So far, in 2019 there has been 21 reported crashes at these two sites, 20 adjacent to the Arboretum and one at the on/off-ramps joining the Tuggeranong Parkway and the Cotter Road. (Note: there is a two-month lead-time for crash data to be cleared and entered into the database.)

But the problem with the Parkway is that when an accident happens there seems to be nowhere to go and the entire north-south link can come to a standstill.

As I said last year, this saps the confidence of drivers in the reliability of the road to take you where you want to be quickly, and places extra pressure on the Cotter Road-Adelaide Avenue route to the city. At least that’s an option. If you are heading to Belconnen or Gungahlin, bad luck.

If nothing else the data points to issues near the Arboretum that scream for attention.

“The unfortunate reality is that it is hard to engineer the human factor on busy roads. Despite that the ACT Government will continue to consider options for improvements to the road,” Mr Steel’s spokesperson says.

In the meantime, choose your travel time and route carefully, and heed the sage advice from the police who have to clean up these messes. “Many of these peak hour collisions are as a result of drivers not leaving adequate distance in front of them to stop safely,” a spokesperson said.

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41 Responses to Tuggeranong Parkway car trap misses out in Budget roads spend
Deref Deref 11:20 am 14 Jun 19

The Glenloch Interchange must be one of the worst-designed spaghetti junctions the country. As we’ve come to expect, penny-pinching construction followed by later “rectification” works which made the problem worse. Bulldoze the lot and get a competent designer to fix it.

    TimboinOz TimboinOz 3:05 pm 27 Mar 21

    It was actually a LHDrive world design, to boot!

    I am so glad we are retired.

ricketyclik ricketyclik 7:22 pm 13 Jun 19

‘“Many of these peak hour collisions are as a result of drivers not leaving adequate distance in front of them to stop safely,” a spokesperson said’.

Nailed it.

    TimboinOz TimboinOz 3:07 pm 27 Mar 21

    Yes, but the truly poor ‘traffic design aspect’ is as important.

    We’re retired and don’r have to hurry, so I get tailgated a lot!

    Am thinking about getting both front and rear cameras.

Paul Melling Paul Melling 4:55 pm 12 Jun 19

People could drive a little better........

I know, dream on.

Graeme Eldridge Graeme Eldridge 9:43 am 12 Jun 19

Crashes give people the chance to look around them and appreciate the wonder of the Canberran environment.

Viva la crash.

Garry Dodds Garry Dodds 4:45 pm 11 Jun 19

This Government have tripled Rates over the past three years with another one coming from this years Budget.Nothing has been spent in the South during that time as all is being invested in the North.

Grimm Grimm 10:59 am 11 Jun 19

Wouldn’t be an issue if people didn’t feel the need to rubberneck every time a car is stopped on the side of the road.

Helen Kendall Helen Kendall 10:54 am 11 Jun 19

Well at least the Liberal Federal Government gave ACT Government $200 million to fix up gross errors in the planning of the Monaro Highway. Not a bad windfall considering ACT Government said we got nothing for infrastructure but I guess it is in the south and it doesn't count! Thank you Zed and the Libs. This road fix has been a long time coming!

    Lincoln Keane Lincoln Keane 2:09 pm 11 Jun 19

    Meanwhile Federal Labor promised $200 million for light rail funding which we won't get.

    Helen Kendall Helen Kendall 2:19 pm 11 Jun 19

    Lincoln Keane thank heavens! There will now be no disruption to roads for 2-3 years, infilling all the way to Woden won't happen - we will retain the bush capital at least in the south. Currently bus from Civic to Woden takes 10 mins in its bus lane alot of the way so why waste money that could be spent in so many other areas just to make the trip longer?

    Brent Sloane Brent Sloane 2:46 pm 11 Jun 19

    Not only has the ACT Government publicly acknowledged and supported the Federal contribution to upgrading the Monaro Highway, the ACT is actually half funding it. It's $100 million each to get to that $200 million figure.

    Helen Kendall Helen Kendall 2:50 pm 11 Jun 19

    Brent Sloane thanks for the clarification. Still nice that the Federal Liberal Government has contributed to the infrastructure of our city.

M.J. Leonard M.J. Leonard 10:26 am 11 Jun 19

Don't worry, Tuggeranong; if planning proceeds on schedule you should get light rail by 2056.

    Helen Kendall Helen Kendall 11:18 am 11 Jun 19

    Martin Leonard except we don't want or need it. Far far cheaper for this city to put in a proper bus network that works.

    Scott Bovey Scott Bovey 12:21 pm 27 Mar 21

    Can’t wait for that 60 minute tram ride to Civic.

Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:41 am 11 Jun 19

If I read the article right the biggest whinge is when there is an accident there is no where else for vehicles to go. Which kind of begs the question where does the author think they should go? A parallel road maybe.

And making out like this is a unique thing to this road. Experience says any road if there is an accident that closes or partially closes the road will have an impact.

David Brown David Brown 9:37 am 11 Jun 19

Barr and his cronies are north siders?

Anne Berriman Anne Berriman 8:47 am 11 Jun 19

Everything about Tuggeranong gets left out.

Morgo Morgo 7:30 am 11 Jun 19

Vehicle accidents are not caused by bad roads. Other than in situations that a driver cannot realistically anticipate (e.g. a fault in the manufacturing of the vehicle), vehicle accidents are caused by a person making a poor decision.

Mark Bowell Mark Bowell 6:57 am 11 Jun 19

It’s the right lane coming Down the gde trying to get into the far lane to get to lady Denman drive while everyone is merging from the on ramp from willian hovel and merging traffic from Parkes way southbound that’s the problem

Also at the cotter road turn off if people put there bloody blinkers on earlier that would help and the frequency of the lights to change would also help some days that left hand side lane is bummer to bummer because of the turn off to cotter road is full

Have had numerous phone calls to traffic controller about the lights there

Lisa Klynnyk Lisa Klynnyk 10:19 pm 10 Jun 19

If people didn’t sit so close to the car in front of them they wouldn’t hit them........ 🏎

    Phil Willcoxson Phil Willcoxson 10:50 pm 10 Jun 19

    Lisa Klynnyk I’ve seen how they drive in WA 🤣🤣🤣

    Jaime Ellis Jaime Ellis 1:43 am 11 Jun 19

    Phil Willcoxson I second Lisa’s point 😏

    Andrew Webber Andrew Webber 3:01 pm 11 Jun 19

    Phil Willcoxson Yeah I used to live there...it was terrible but Canberra can be just as bad these days. Many P platers seem to do it dunno who is teaching them or passing their tests

Jeffrey Brown Jeffrey Brown 9:46 pm 10 Jun 19

I don't find anything wrong with the roads. The road is not the problem. Just the inconsistency of speed limits and stupid drivers...

    Elsa Gaskell Elsa Gaskell 12:01 am 11 Jun 19

    Jeffrey Brown the problem with that particular half km stretch is that sometimes the traffic lights are too backed up which causes a crash when cars slow down to a near stop on a 100km road on a curve with no warning.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:36 am 11 Jun 19

    Jeffrey Brown what lights are they?

Jay Kay Jay Kay 9:44 pm 10 Jun 19

Name somewhere in Canberra that doesn't have traffic traps from an accident?

Andrew Webber Andrew Webber 9:44 pm 10 Jun 19

The number of drivers tailgating each other, often multiple cars just a metre or two behind apart doesn't help. Reminders on the side of the road about keeping a safe distance from the car in front would be a cost effective easy start

Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 9:13 pm 10 Jun 19

The south voted for Zed. Let them eat cake.

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 9:34 pm 10 Jun 19

    But you don't think there is a connection?

    Federal government's have a habit of punishing state electorates that vote against them and state do the same to federal electorates. It's a tit for tat that has existed for decades

    Shayne Borger Shayne Borger 10:45 pm 10 Jun 19

    Stephen Esdaile true but he's a prat that dummy spits. So over him acting like a spoilt kid for the disbenefit of the ACT and rate payers

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 11:01 pm 10 Jun 19

    The whole ACT government is a child that dummy spits, sucked in by every trendy shiny new idea and then bailed out by selling land in a manner that the Mafia would blush at. ,😖

    Garry Dodds Garry Dodds 4:46 pm 11 Jun 19

    Chris Cross Tuggeranong is not Dropping and this you can tell as there are NO EMPTY houses?

    Peter Hatfield Peter Hatfield 7:36 am 13 Jun 19

    The article is about ACT funding, not federal funding. The Labor/Green coalition ACT government has shown already it is uninterested in equity and prefers to direct transport funding and delivery away from lower income outer suburban households to higher income inner North and South households, even if they voted Labor as in Belwest. The light rail is the classic, but the neglect of outer suburban cycle infrastructure in favour of the inner North is another example.

    Peter Hatfield Peter Hatfield 7:42 am 13 Jun 19

    Garry Dodds I would be interested in the most recent figures. A lot of households have become empty nesters, falling from 4-5 occupants to 1 - 2. . There are also a lot of group houses but they do not usually have more occupants than the family that typically lived there in the 80s and 90s. The number of cars would be growing though, as more retiree couples now run two cars, and there are often as many or more cars in a group house or a family with teenagers as there are than bedrooms .

    Martin Milin Martin Milin 5:58 pm 15 Jun 19

    Stephen Esdaile not sure what Zed has to do with ACT Labor Govt budget, but anyway..

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 6:02 pm 15 Jun 19

    Martin Milin read the comments further down...

bigred bigred 8:54 pm 10 Jun 19

The whole mess is an argument in support of a Singapore or London style congestion charging regime, rather than sterilising more land for roads that will become congested prompting calls for more roads.

Matthew Dickson Matthew Dickson 8:45 pm 10 Jun 19

Raj Singh they knew about this they even call it a trap

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