Speed promise slows drivers

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To the limit... 80km/h on the GDE is frustrating some drivers.

The Gungahlin Drive Extension continues still to frustrate drivers, reports FREYLA FERGUSON

A NINE-year-old commitment to residents of Kaleen and Aranda concerned about traffic noise is one of the reasons the double-lane Gungahlin Drive Extension speed limit has been set at 80km/h.

The GDE, which the Opposition reminds us has taken the ACT  Government longer to construct than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, was finally completed with double lanes in each direction, earlier this month.

However, since the recent opening, “CityNews” has received calls of complaint about the GDE’s speed limit of 80km/h.

There are only a few roads in the ACT that have speed limits of 100km/h.

They include Tuggeranong Parkway, Monaro Highway, Federal Highway and Barton Highway.

There are localised exceptions on all rural roads in the ACT, which have a default speed limit of 100km/h.

But why not the GDE?

According to a TAMS spokesperson, there are three reasons why the speed limit of the GDE is set at 80km/h.

“During the consultation period in 2002/3 a commitment was  given to residents of Kaleen and Aranda that the speed limit would be set at 80 km/h in response to concerns they had about traffic noise from the road,” he said.

“Glenloch Interchange’s proximity to the next interchange to the south – the Lakeside Interchange – requires that its speed limit be set at 80km/h to ensure safe traffic movements to and from Lady Denman Drive.

“And to ensure consistency of speed limits along the route. The speed limit is consistent from Gungahlin Drive north of the Barton Highway to past the Lakeside Interchange.”

The Tuggeranong Parkway, where the GDE leads to, has a speed limit of 100km/h.

“The Tuggeranong Parkway has well-spaced interchanges,” the TAMS spokesperson said.

“Additionally, no commitment was made during consultation to set the speed limit at 80km/h.”

In Australia, there is a standard that covers speed limits considering the type of road, any roadside development and traffic characteristics including volumes and crashes.

In the ACT, RoadsACT is responsible for assessing speed limits on public roads.

The TAMS  spokesperson said they will be monitoring car speeds along the GDE over the next few months.

ACT, NSW, Queensland, Victoria and SA all have speed limits of 100km/h (excluding freeways).

The NT and WA have speed limits up to 110km/h, reflecting the long distances of uninterrupted traffic flow.

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  1. If potential noise is an issue, why not implement noise barriers when the road comes within close proximity to houses? Such barriers are in use on high speed transport corridors all over the country and are very effective.

    The GDE was designed with a maximum safe speed in mind of 90 km/h. It looks safe to travel at 90 to 100 km/h. Even motorists who are doing their best to obey the artificially low 80 km/h speed limit will unwittingly exceed it at times, as the design of the GDE encourages high speed. As well as then contributing to more noise, these motorists will inevitably be fined by the point to point speed cameras which are due to appear on that road soon…

    All of these factors combined are simply going to bolster the belief amoung the community that speed limits and speed cameras are about revenue and not about safety. With excessive speed being one of the biggest killers on our roads, implementing a speed limit that will be highly enforced, yet is not going to be respected by the majority of motorists, thus is not compliant with Australian Standards, is simply negligent.

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