Barton Highway roundabout traffic lights start confirmed
30 October 2015 Matthew Raggatt
The delayed construction to install nine sets of traffic lights on one of Canberra's busiest roundabouts is close to beginning after a tender was recently accepted.
Putting a spotlight on the transport policy differences between Labor and the Liberals in the Gungahlin region ahead of the election, works on the $10 million Barton Highway-Gundaroo Drive roundabout upgrade, originally scheduled to begin in June, will now begin in November.
The Liberals have committed to build a $35 million flyover across the Barton Highway instead of what they call the "UK model" of a signalised roundabout, but Labor's 12-month construction timeframe, which includes an additional lane for each of the four approaches, means the government's more modest option should be all-but finished come voting time next October.
The Labor government expects to start construction on its Barton Highway roundabout upgrade, including installing nine sets of traffic lights, in November. Photo: Supplied
Gungahlin Community Council president Peter Elford said that although the council executive would have a preference for a flyover, advice from ACT Roads on complexity and cost – put to the council verbally as more than $50 million – meant the question became a broader one of overall road priorities in the region.
"For the next ACT budget it is very likely that the council will make the case that completing the duplication of Gundaroo Drive and of Horse Park Drive remain the highest priority," he said.
Liberals roads spokesman Alastair Coe has pointed to a 2012 independent planning report which suggests the benefits of a non-flyover upgrade would be eroded by increased traffic within a decade. Mr Elford said the council had been told it would give 15 years' benefits. In turn, a Roads ACT document released to the council this month says a fully functioning flyover would be "prohibitively expensive".
The Liberals have so far outlined a clear commitment to the full duplication of Gundaroo Drive from Mirrabei Drive to the Barton Highway. Planning Minister Mick Gentleman said on Friday construction on the first stage of the duplication would begin in November, but has made no promise to match the Liberals, with future stages "subject to future funding decisions".
Labor has said extra road works, including widening a 1.6 kilometre section of Gungahlin Drive and making Horse Park Drive a dual carriageway between Anthony Rolfe Avenue and Well Station Drive will both be under way this year.
The Barton Highway-Gundaroo Drive-William Slim Drive roundabout had 68 crashes during peak hours last year, with two-thirds of those between 4pm and 7pm.
Date: 26 September 2015