ACT QT: No buses, ribbons, bikes

bus

Don’t believe your eyes, TAMS has assured the Chief Minister and the CityNews the Belconnen Way/Barry Drive bus lane is not complete, despite all appearances to the contrary.

Greens Leader Meredith Hunter today asked the Chief Minister about the lane, which remains closed at the Belconnen end, but open at the city end where works appear to be continuing.

“Minister what is the date is the Belconnen bus way due to be opened and what ministers have been invited to the opening ceremony?” Hunter asked.

The Chief replied, “I did ask Tony Gill, coincidentally Ms Hunter, just a few days ago on what date he expected the new Belconnen Busway to be opened and he said the middle of August and he preferred not to be more precise.

“And as to the opening, Ms Hunter, I wasn’t aware that there was to be one. If you think we should go out with whistles and bells, maybe we could.

“If there was one and I’m not invited I’ll be a bit miffed.”

Hunter then asked the Chief what work remained to be done.

“I think the remaining work and again I say I haven’t kept particularly close tabs in terms of the structural work that needs to be undertaken, except that the last work to be done is finishing off the cycle path that is to connect to the footpath on Barry Drive opposite the Australian National University,” Stanhope said.

“The last work that I understood was needed to be completed was the finishing of the cycle-way and it may be that there was also some line marking that needed to be concluded.”

What Hunter was getting at is the busway has been constructed with Federal and ACT Government funds, since the election was called five weeks ago departments have been in caretaker mode and ministers unable to open public works – like ribbon cutting ceremonies for busways.

Given the Stanhope Government’s enthusiasm for opening cermonies, it would be no great surprise if the removal of traffic cones from the Belconnen Busway had not been delayed by the care taker period.

Also to the naked eye there appears to be no reason it should not be already open, workers have not been present at the Belconnen end of the busway for some time now.

The CityNews asked TAMS the same question three weeks ago, with the same reply: it is anticipated the bus lane will be opened in mid-August and the bike lane (already in use by Canberra’s stealthy cyclists) at the end of the month.

So, Mr Gill, Mr Stanhope, for the sake of commuters on this rainy day, why has the Belconnen Busway not yet been opened and when will it? It appears to be past the middle of August already.

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