What happened: first quarter 2022

Planned underpass, Roy Corrigan Close, Coombs, Molonglo Valley

What has happened around Canberra in the first quarter of 2022. Below that, the year summary of What happened in 2021.

Update 30 March 2022 Athllon Drive Duplication

Federal Liberal Government have offered $51 million for infrastructure projects in the ACT as part of the 2020 Federal Budget. This is not a great deal. Most of it is for the Athllon Drive Duplication. As Athllon Drive is only a road duplication project without new grade separated bike infrastructure, the cyclist will see not benefit from this money. At this stage, no similar bids from Labor are known but Labor usually make funding bids on infrastructure in ACT as part of the Federal Election campaign. At the last Federal Election, Labor promised to build a bike path along Sulwood Drive, which is proceeding in 2022 WITHOUT Federal funding. Liberal governments underfunded the ACT for transport infrastructure projects as we are safe Labor seats. Australia’s democracy is far from perfect.

Update 24 February 2022 – Bridge over Weston Creek

A bridge is proposed across Weston Creek between Coombs and the CBR Cycle Route C5 past the RSPCA. The construction of the bridge is expected to begin towards the end of 2022. SLA hopes that the bridge will be completed by the end of 2023. The bridge is as yet to be named.

Update 24 February 2022 – Roy Corrigan Close

All works have been completed. The path across the dam from Roy Corrigan Close has been completed and is now open (information from SLA).

Update 24 February 2022 – Coombs and Wright Village

Stage 1 tender is closed. Stage 2 about to be released. SLA hope to announce the successful developers by August 2022. The best case scenario is that construction begins around mid 2023.

Update 24 February 2022 – Molonglo 132KV Transmission Line

The trenching for the Molonglo 132KV Transmission Line Relocation has begun. Getting the approvals is regarded as a success. SLA suggests the project will be finished in 2023.

Update 27 February 2022 Sulwood Drive

A tour of Sulwood Drive today shows that the ACT Government has yet to begin construction. After all the noise made by Minister Steel in the Legislative Assembly last year, I would have expected more progress with this project. The project has not gone to tender, which is a sure indication that it is not going to be built anytime soon. I am not sure of the reason for the grandstanding last year about this project. Minister Steel, the tender would be most welcome!

Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, Canberra
Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, Canberra

What happened in 2021?

Here are some of the many small changes we saw in 2021 as a diary of events, or as we call them – updates. The budget was a disappointment and we are hoping for something better in 2022.

Update 31 December 2021 Kuringa Drive bike path

New Years is just hours away and Kuringa Drive cycle path has still not been opened. The ends were blocked and signed for pedestrians as closed. These obstructions were torn down again by frustrated pedestrians/cyclists. The Kuringa Drive cycle path was promised to be finished in the last electoral term. Over a year after the ACT Election, we are still waiting for the official opening. ACT Transport is slow, we know that, prone to make the same errors again and again. Here is yet another example of how cyclist left behind in the dust of motor vehicle priorities. ACT Transport have done little for cycling in 2021. Although, the intersection was sealed and opened in a single weekend in June, 6 months later cyclist are left to wait for the bike path to open. ACT Transport is really rather ordinary. 😦

Update 24 November 2021 Kuringa Drive bike path

With a year delay, the Kuringa Drive cycle path is finally here. An impatient cyclist has ridden down the tape to mark the lack of any official opening. The Kuringa Drive shortens the ride from West Belconnen to West Gungahlin by many kilometres. Consider the loop ride by Kuringa Drive, Horse Park Drive, and back to Gundaroo Drive.

Update 17 September 2021 $12 million for one light rail stop

The $9.749 million spent on cycling contracts in the 2019-2020 ACT Budget is not a lot of money. The new light rail stop at Mitchell cost $12 million and that is just ONE light rail stop. This puts into context how badly funded cycling remains in the ACT. The Belconnen Bikeway – discuss for most of the last decade – cost only $6.7 million.

Update 14 September 2021 Kuringa Drive bike path

The surfacing of the bike path has begun. The line marking will follow. After that the path will remain closed for some time while mysterious administrative business is finalised. At some point, a cyclist will become impatient and tear down the tape, unofficially opening the path. We can expect the official opening much later after that, if at all. This is the TCCS way. We should note, that 3 months after the intersection was finished, we still do not have a completed bike path.

Update 2041 in doubt and 2050 more likely

The available information for Molonglo 3 and the history of the Whitlam development would suggest that a 2041 completion of the Molonglo Valley is unlikely and 2050 seems more realistic. The exact date is not so important as to accept that it will take much longer than 2041. Read Molonglo 3 East: timeline uncertainty.

Update 5 August 2021 Belconnen Bikeway Project Costs

Part 2C Capital Works, TCCS 2019-2020 Annual Report, 255.

Building a better city – Active Travel – Belconnen bikeway
Revised pratical completion date: Sep 2018
Total expenditure: $250,000
Comment: likely design work

Part 2C Government Contracting, TCCS 2019-2020 Annual Report, 268.

Belconnen bikeway – superintendency
Contractor: Cardno Pty Ltd
Value: $197,162.40
Period 24/7/2019 to 1/7/2021

Belconnen bikeway – construction
Contractor: Cord Civi Pty Ltd
Value: $6,218,631.36
Period 9/9/2019 to 9/7/2021

Total project cost: $6,665,793.76

Update 2 August 2021 Why is Kama shut?

Comments of Facebook showed dismay at the closure of Kama for cycling. How does this make sense? The wide gravel management trail, from William Hovell Drive in the north to Pipe Flat in the south, through the nature reserved seemed ideal for gravel cycling and provided good access for the Pipe Flat ride. Further, the opening of The Pinnacle Offset Area provide a north south route from Hawker, thus avoiding the dreaded Coulter Drive.

At the heart of Canberra Nature Park lies a conflict between conservation and access. This is recognised in the act and when in doubt conservation overrides access. We can never know what the reason was for the Kama decision for certain, but the parrots in Kama were of concern.

While the 2019 Draft (Canberra Nature Park) Plan indicated the principal set out in the Planning and Development Act 2007 that if two objectives were in conflict the first took precedence (so that the imperative to ‘conserve the natural environment’ took precedence over that of providing ‘for public use of the area for recreation, education and research’).

Draft Reserve Management Plan: Canberra Nature Park, Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services, July 2021, Report 2, 5

Update 6 August 2021 Belconnen Bikeway

Belconnen Bikeway was dug up and block in July 2021 due to construction work (new KFC) beside the Belconnen Skate Park. The bikeway has been opened again but remains unsealed in the works area.

Update 30 July 2021 Belconnen Bikeway

All to July 2021 the Belconnen Bikeway has been blocked again in the same spot as before. There appears no urgency to clear it.

Update 16 July 2021 Kuringa Drive intersection

The signalisation of Kuringa Drive and Owen Dixon Drive has been completed. The works crew has packed up and left. Unfortunately, the bike path along Kuringa Drive has yet to be completed. Hopefully, it will be finished soon.

Update 3 June 2021 Molonglo Bridge Ministerial statement

The bridge will take longer to complete than previously anticipated, with the 2024 completion date falling back to “as early as 2025”. Considering the project has not even started yet, further delays are possible.

The most significant project currently underway in the Molonglo Valley is the completion of John Gorton Drive and the construction of a new bridge over the Molonglo River. The project is progressing well, with the development application approved in February this year. In addition to providing carriageway for private vehicles, the bridge will be future-proofed for light rail and public transport priority is currently under investigation for the intersections along John Gorton Drive. As a key transport corridor, the bridge will also include both on-road shared and an off-road shared path. We look forward to commencing the process to procure a design and construction contractor later this year, with the intent of undertaking detailed design work next year and commencing construction in mid-2023 ahead of the bridge opening as early as 2025.

Transport minister Chris Steel, Ministerial statement. Hansard from the ACT Legislative Assemble, 3 June 2021

Update 5 June 2021 Kuringa Drive

Kuringa Drive between Kingsford Smith Drive and Barton Highway is closed due to construction works. This leaves Gundaroo Drive as the best option. What cyclists were forced to accept for years is now affecting motorists. Soon, the work will be completed.

Update 9 April 2021 Kuringa Drive

The work on the upgrade of the Kuringa Drive and Owen Dixon Drive intersection has begun. Expect delays. The works include a bike path along Kuringa Drive.

Update 13 February 2021 Aranda

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. If we built better quality bike paths to the prescribed standards (ACT Active Travel Standard Drawings and Austroads recommendations), we could avoid such issues.

Update 6 February 2021 Belconnen Bikeway

The construction of Belconnen Bikeway along Emu Bank was finished just before the Christmas 2020, however, we are still waiting on the start of the construction of another section along Benjamin Way that was promised back at the 2016 ACT Election.

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