Sulwood Drive in the 2021-2022 Budget

Athllon Drive cycleway looking north from Sulwood Drive. c1989

The shared bike path along Sulwood Drive will be built over the next four years and finished around 2026-2027. The average delay for TCCS project is 6 months. The 2021-2022 Budget contains the funding. The path itself is expected to cost $4.7 million and signalisation of the Mannheim Street intersection will cost $4.97 million – more than the bike path itself.

Background

The feasibility studies consider 6 options (number 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A and 5). Option 5 along the south of Sulwood Drive to the north of the earth embankment was chosen as the preferred option. The decision was turned by the YourSay consultation (including a pop-up on Saturday, 19 June 2021). Local residents did not want a bike path and path lighting at the back of their house. Those with environmental concerns did not want the path on the edge of Mount Taylor Nature Reserve. Many were averse to cutting down trees – anywhere. Finally, TCCS wanted space left for the duplication of Sulwood Drive in 20+ years. As usual, the bike path drew the last straw. The project closed on the 21 September 2021.

The good news is that the Sulwood Drive bike path made it into the ACT 2021-2022 Budget.

The feasibility study explains that the gradients along the chosen alignment will not be compliant with ACT MIS05 Active Travel Standards that stipulate a maximum 5% gradient.

The vertical grades were modelled to match the existing vertical alignment (of the road). This results in two areas that the vertical grades exceed the 5% maximum stipulated in the design criteria. The maximum vertical grade experienced on this option (5) is 6.75%

SMEC, Mount Taylor Feasibility Report, Mount Taylor Design Services, ACT Reference No 35496-NCT-100, Prepared for IDPG on behalf of TCCS, 14 April 2021, 32. Obtained through FOI 21-065 Sulwood Drive part 1 (attached).

This gradient is less than Aranda Hill on the CBR Cycle Route C5 but not advisable, nevertheless. The options for the Sulwood Drive bike path with gradients of 5% or less gradients were rule out after consideration of objections raised in the consultation process.

Minister Steel, TCCS, 2021-2022 Budget Briefing Pack

Section: Connected and sustainable Canberra – Active travel investments (TCCS CW26), FOI 21-11, 47.

The Government will deliver a city-wide package of active travel projects to increase opportunities for walking and cycling across Canberra. This will include the construction of an off-road cycle path along Sulwood Drive between Drakeford Drive and Athlon Drive and
improving access to the Mount Taylor Nature Reserve with works on the Sulwood Drive/Mannheim Street intersection and car park entrance.

Connected and sustainable Canberra – Active travel investments (TCCS CW26), FOI 21-11, 47.

Component Breakdown

Financial
Impacts
Summary
2021-22
$000
2022-23
$000
2023-24
$000
2024-25
$000
Total
$000
Capital4003000300032709670
Path1601600130016404700
Intersection2401400170016304970
Connected and sustainable Canberra – Active travel investments (TCCS CW26), FOI 21-11, 47.

Business case details

Sulwood Drive shared path and intersection signalisation (Sulwood Drive /Mannheim Street) – construction funding over four years will also cover improvements to the entrance and egress of the existing carpark at Mount Taylor Nature Reserve.

Connected and sustainable Canberra – Active travel investments (TCCS CW26), FOI 21-11, 48.

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