Aranda CBR Cycle Route C5

Aranda hill and bike path, Belconnen, ACT, Australia

Aranda hill is a critical cycling link in Canberra. Everything south of Belconnen is best reached over Aranda hill. The official name for this Active Travel Route is “CBR Cycle Route C5 Belconnen – Tuggeranong via Weston Creek”. The vast majority of this route was built before 1988.

Aranda ridge separates the Belconnen and Molonglo Valley. The hill is known for its scenic views and rural landscape. The descent to Lake Burley Griffin is thrilling.

Other CBR Cycle Routes are discussed here.

Canberra Centenary Trail, Aranda hill bike path, Black Mountain behind. Canberra.
Aranda hill bike path, Black Mountain behind. Canberra

A shared path

Evenings, after work, Aranda hill can get busy and not without some risk as the community path is shared with locals walking their dogs. The path is currently not lit but really should be.

horses on Aranda hill, Belconnen, ACT, Australia
Horses on Aranda hill, Belconnen
Aranda bike path, Belconnen, Canberra
Busy Aranda bike path, Belconnen, Canberra
Street crossing, Aranda bike path, Aranda, Canberra
One of THREE street crossing on the Aranda bike path, Aranda, Canberra

Maintenance issues

Some sections need maintenance, too. It has been on the to-do list for a long time. There is such a backlog of maintenance required on cycle paths in the ACT, that it is hard to know where to start. I am hard-pressed to say why Aranda hill should be first, but I hope, one day, that the ACT Government gets on top of this.

The bumps can be big. Everybody knows this one. Aranda bike path, Belconnen, Canberra. Note: Resurfaced in 2020 – see below.
Rain washes the dirt on the path that can remain there for weeks. Aranda bike path, Belconnen, Canberra
Safety and hazards on Aranda bike path, Belconnen, Canberra
Regularly knocked over. Safety and hazards on Aranda bike path, Belconnen, Canberra

Aranda update 13 February 2021

The lower section of the Aranda bike path (C5) has been resurfaced following the 2020 ACT Election but is already cracking due to tree roots. The root cause of the cracking previously was also the trees. This problem is well understood as asphalt reshapes itself to the underlying ground like a glacier. Asphalt is more like plasticine than concrete. The ACT Active Travel Stand Drawings and Austroads recommendations for bike paths provide recommendations for bike path construction to avoid such issues. For roads the asphalt is laid on a thick compacted road base (for John Gorton Drive it has about a 30 cm thickness). The construction of a bike path is similar with a thick “road base” and a relative thin layer of asphalt over that. The “road base” is important as it provides the stability and load bearing that asphalt lacks.

Other problems such as stormwater washing silt onto the paths remain and will do so until the paths are protected with drainage to capture the water from the surrounding park.

Finally, the last photo shows a rest for cyclists that has been knocked over and since replaced. The cause of the problem is a 6o km/h minor collector crossing a Principle Community Route. The ACT Active Travel design standards require a Priority Crossing at such intersections due to the high danger of conflicts.

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