Sulwood Drive: reason for concern

With the excitement about Athllon Drive Duplication Project, many have great hopes something will be done about Sulwood Drive. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Why funding is likely and why Sulwood Drive has missed out is discussed here.

I have a special fondness for Sulwood Drive. Not because it is suitable for riding as it is most certainly not. Sulwood Drive has the potential of closing a missing link between north/south routes on Athllon Drive and parallel to Tuggeranong Parkway. That has got to be good. Some things make it unlikely.

Urban development life cycle

The time from the birth of a suburb to its renewal is the urban development life cycle. When a suburb is built the ideas reflecting urban development of the time are set into stone (concrete). The wave of urban renewal is swinging south with major investment by the ACT Government in Woden Valley, but this wave has not reached Kambah yet. Perhaps at the next Federal Election, this will change or the ACT Election after that but the last ACT Election was a fizzer for Kambah.

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2020 ACT Election

We are 20 years into the 21st century. That is quite a bit already and one would hope that there are great ambitions to build bike paths over the next decades, but there is not.

ACT Labor is pursuing the light rail with passion, and it is an important step forward as Canberra nudges a population of 0.5 million. The approval process is slow but progress has been made. The CIT and light rail station in Woden has been approved and should be finished by 2025. Light rail will reach Commonwealth Park and Lake Burley Griffin with Stage 2A by 2025. This is progress. However, it will be a long wait then until the light rail arrives at Woden. Approximately $1.9 billion later and by 2035 we may get there. Labor is preoccupied until then.

ACT Greens came out of the gates at the 2020 ACT Election with a good offer for a cyclist, should it ever be built. Up until now, they have been completely silent on the subject, so it does not appear to be at the top of their election list promises. I hope there will be a positive impact on the 2021-2022 ACT Budget, but I am not getting my hopes up. My concern at the time of the election is that the ACT Greens have ambition but not a plan. How long will it take them to get their ideas to mature in notably groundswell movement is hard to say. The communal nature of their approach would suggest 2022 could be promising. The ACT concrete plans do not go past Woden.

Sulwood Drive is not on the map of ACT Labor or ACT Greens at this time.

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Athllon Drive Duplication Project

The great south hope is the Athllon Drive Duplication Project. It is currently in an early stage of planning. It appears a feasibility study has been completed, that is something.

John Gorton Drive Bridge is at a later stage. The detailed planning is yet to be begun, but soon, However, a development application has been released and in the last weeks approved. That is something. Most telling is that the last budget allocation $174 million for the construction. Money talks.

The “road that should not be named” is a road duplication in Belconnen between Ginninderra Drive and Barton Highway. It is a bit hard to find on the ACT Government website as the road does not have a name. However, it does have funding and gone to tender for construction. Within the next few years, it should be finished and then it will be called the Gundaroo Drive.

It should be noted here that for Sulwood Drive we have neither political promises, feasibility study, development application, tender or money.

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Molonglo Valley

The Molonglo Valley is the new home of approximately 55,000 resident by 2035-40 in the “south”. Directions of a compass depend on where you are standing at the time and from the perspective of somebody in Tuggeranong, the Molonglo Valley would be decidedly north. The Molonglo Valley is one of the last great greenfield estates in the ACT and the ACT Government is doing its best not to screw it up.

The Molonglo Valley, to date, has been a mixed result. It is progressing well but still a reason for concern. It is on the mind of the ACT Government and as the construction will extend for up to another 20 years it is a distraction that will not disappear soon.

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Sulwood Drive hopes

So Sulwood Drive does not currently appear to have much support. This is disappointing. I would hope the 2022 Federal Election will liven things up a bit and from my perspective, an early election would be most welcome, though I fear unlikely.

In conclusion, Sulwood Drive is worth doing but currently, the stars are not aligned.

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