New traffic pressures in North Canberra expected

Residents of inner north Canberra suburbs can expect a major increase in traffic in their suburbs unless new local traffic arrangements are developed. That was a key message delivered by Mr Tony Gill in his presentation to the North Canberra Community Council on 19 August. Mr Gill, Director of Roads ACT, outlined a number of major traffic developments that will affect North Canberra residents in different ways.

Extension of Sandford Road: Plans are being developed to extend Sandford Road in Mitchell through to the Antill Street/ Federal Highway roundabout. This will provide access to the Federal Highway from the new suburb of Kenny (to be developed shortly) and also from Mitchell.

Mr Gill acknowledged that this is likely to lead to increased traffic on Antill Street and therefore on roads through North Canberra suburbs generally. He said he did not expect that this would result in widening Antill Street. He also stated that the increased traffic volume would need to be addressed through local traffic arrangements. In the case of Hackett he thought that the installation of traffic lights at the Majura Ave/ Phillip Ave intersection would help to remove the incentive for drivers to take a shortcut through Hackett. The traffic lights did not, however, receive any funding in the most recent ACT Budget and a proposal is being developed for the next budget round, although there is no certainty that funding will be allocated.

The Hackett Community Association is very concerned about this increased volume of traffic. While traffic lights may assist, there is no guarantee of funding and other local traffic arrangements need to be discussed.

Majura Parkway: The realignment of Majura Parkway (currently Majura Road) will link the Federal and Monaro highways; provide increased access to and from Gungahlin and access to Canberra airport. The need for the upgrade has been primarily generated by the expansion of Gungahlin and the development of office space at the airport. Prior to the construction of Horse Park Drive, there were 5,000 vehicles per day along Majura Road. This has now increased to 18,000 a day. The Parkway will have capacity for 40,000 a day.

The realignment has been controversial because it will impact on bike riders using Majura Pines, on the girl guides facility and on Mt Majura Nature Reserve. The realignment is being justified by a future High Speed Train route connecting to the airport rather than the city. In its submission on the Parkway, the North Canberra Community Council argued that any future train should connect cities to cities, not airports to airports. Roads ACT is currently revising the Environment Impact Statement about the Parkway in light of the comments it has received and intends to resubmit it by the end of September.

Cycle paths: Mr Gill also said that Roads ACT (which has responsibility for cycle paths) has commissioned a consultant to work on future development of cycle paths. They are keen to hear from residents and from local associations about their priorities for cycle paths in North Canberra. The Hackett Community Association has raised the possibility of a cycle path going from Hackett to Civic behind Ainslie in the Nature Park.

If you have any views on this, or any other ideas, please raise them below in the comments section.

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