The plan to duplicate William Hovell Drive is known. The development application was released recently. The project includes 4.5 km of off-road share path.
The duplication of William Hovell Drive intends to improve the arterial network between Weston Belconnen and Civic. Duplications are expensive projects that overwhelming for the benefit of motor vehicles. They bring few benefits for other transport modes. Included in the project is a shared bikepath between the roundabout on Drake Brockman Drive and the intersection with John Gorton Drive. The bikepath will be a strand asset, isolated and without connections to the CBR Cycle Routes. The path is missing links between:
Whitlam and Belconnen along Coulter Drive
the John Gorton Drive and Glenloch Interchange along William Hovell Drive
Whitlam and Denman Prospect – until bridge is completed in 2025
the roundabout and Strathnairn along Drake Brockman Drive
the roundabout and Ginninderra Drive along Kingsford Smith Drive.
In other words, the 4.5 km segment is isolated from Canberra’s shared path network.
The general issue is that road duplications are driven by the needs of the road system and not the requirements of the cycling path network. The most critical investments for the cycling path network are not necessarily beside a road that needs to be duplicated.
Investment should be direct to CBR Cycle Routes
Future focus: The top priority in Canberra is to build good and direct Principal Cycling routes between town centres for cycling commuting. We have a plan – CBR Cycle Routes – but lack the investment to fill the gaps and upgrade the network to this high standard. Strategic investment for active travel would redirect funds to CBR Cycle Routes.
4.5 km of bike path
Going deeper: The bike path starts on the north side of William Hovell Drive at the top of the hill and remains on that side until it reaches Kama. The underpass between Kama and the Offset Area below Hawker, is the cross-over (under) point. The bike path then remains south of William Hovell drive and passes north of Whitlam to end at John Gorton Drive.
Levels (heights) along a route are shown on the “control lines”. Control lines for both carriage ways and all side roads are included, but not for the bike path. That makes it impossible to calculate the gradients along the bike path. On the city side of Kama, the bike path is adjacent to William Hovell Drive. Here the gradients would be the same as the westbound carriage way. We have drawings for that, however, the gradients are not included on the plans. A bit of number crunching is required to calculate the average gradients for each individual segment. Gradients for this section range from -6% (downhill) to 4% (uphill). This is acceptable.
Section from the roundabout to Kama
Section Kama to John Gorton Drive
The dark green line below the bike path on the next two images is the entrance road to Kama. It is a dead end, as the gate is locked.
The bike path is high up at the road level above Whitlam and descends to the level of Whitlam as the lights.