THE proposed construction of the light rail from Civic to Woden is predicted to cause significant disruption to Canberra’s main routes for several years, according to Transport Minister Chris Steel.

The minister today (July 21) announced that the ACT government has established a “Disruption Taskforce” to minimise the impact of what is going to be a “very disruptive” delivery of light rail Stage 2. 

“The government is being upfront with Canberrans that the construction of light rail will be very disruptive for our road network, with lane closures and diversions in place for several years on major approach routes into the city from the southside,” Minister Steel said. 

The first major works associated with building light rail to Woden involves raising London Circuit to provide an at-grade intersection with Commonwealth Avenue.

This will require a number of road closures as the current cloverleafs and the Commonwealth Avenue overpass over London Circuit are progressively dismantled, Mr Steel said. 

“Construction at the southern end of the CBD will mainly impact those coming from the southside into the city, but there will be flow-on impacts across the road network,” he said. 

During peak periods, a large number of vehicles could shift to other arterial roads such as Kings Avenue and Parkes Way, he said.

The government predicts that Kings Avenue could see more than 20 per cent more traffic in the morning and afternoon peaks while Parkes Way between Kings Avenue and the city could be up more than 45 per cent in the morning and almost 60 per cent in the afternoon.

“The disruption associated with construction is going to be significant, but once completed, light rail will make our city more vibrant, sustainable and better connected,” Mr Steel said. 

The Disruption Taskforce established by the government will be required to make:

  • infrastructure improvements to support traffic flow – such as intersection and road improvements
  • managing network demand – such as by encouraging shift in routes and travel times to spread peak congestion
  • providing alternate transport options – such as by strengthening public transport and active travel options   

Following the announcement of the taskforce, the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) is calling on the government to make public transport free in Canberra. 

With the government flagging major disruptions for city commuters, the acting CEO of ACTCOSS, Craig Wallace, says it’s time to take a serious look at making public transport free. 

“Free public transport could take cars off the roads in peak times, reduce our carbon footprint, encourage social participation, volunteering and employment by people on low incomes and alleviate some of the transport challenges set to face our city over the next couple of years,” Mr Wallace says. 

“It could provide a win-win to people on low incomes, services and businesses in the city facing disruption. 

“People with transport disadvantages have the greatest need to travel and face the greatest isolation when they can’t, but they have the least flexibility about where and how they move across the city. 

“Travel is an essential cost of living and falls hardest on those with the least ability to pay. 

“In a smart and compact city, travel costs should not stop people doing the things they have to do or the things they want to do. Transport is also a social determinant of health.” 

 

 

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