1 July 2020

Mitchell traders welcome funding for 'long overdue' light rail stop

| Ian Bushnell
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Light rail stop

A light rail stop at the Mitchell business district will be built over the next year. Photo: File.

The announcement of funding for a new light rail stop at Mitchell has been welcomed by local traders who have long campaigned for the business district to be included on the route.

Mitchell Traders Association president Michael Warnock said the funding, included in a joint Commonwealth-ACT Government $35 million infrastructure package, was fantastic news.

Mr Warnock said the planned Sandford Street stop would reduce parking pressures in Mitchell, boost business and provide greater access to the city.

”For people coming in, it was quite a long walk either from Wells Station Road or from EPIC, which is where most people seem to come from,” he said. ”It will be great to have that access at long last.”

Mr Warnock said the Mitchell stop was well overdue and should have been included in Light Rail Stage 1, but the association’s campaign had paid off.

”We had to be patient, had to wait but they have been true to their word. They did say they would do it before Stage 2A [from the city to Commonwealth Park],” Mr Warnock said.

The $35 million package, in which each government is putting up $17.6 million, is designed to support construction jobs and deliver shovel-ready infrastructure projects and urgent road safety upgrades.

Transport Minister Chris Steel said the new light rail stop on Flemington Road at Sandford Street would provide better access to the Mitchell business district in addition to the existing stop at Well Station Drive.

“Design is being undertaken on a 14th stop on the light rail line and we will work with Canberra Metro to build the station at Sandford Street over the next year,” Mr Steel said.

The package includes $1.6 million from the ACT Government to jointly fund targeted road safety investments across the Territory including upgrades to traffic signals to keep them on during power outages, and the installation of road safety barriers to protect motorists on arterial roads.

Other projects to be funded include intersection upgrades across the ACT Territory-wide, the Northbourne Avenue Pavement Rehabilitation program, and variable speed limit infrastructure on the Tuggeranong Parkway.

The road pavement along Northbourne Avenue northbound from Macarthur Avenue to Mouat Street will be upgraded to improve skid resistance, remove defects and reduce the need for regular maintenance. Cyclists will also enjoy a smoother journey.

The joint package will fund a variable speed limit system for the Tuggeranong Parkway between Cotter road and the Glenloch interchange to allow the ACT Government to vary speeds to manage congestion. It includes variable signs, communication connections, CCTV cameras and speed and volume detectors.

”Permanent variable speed limit signs will be installed on the Parkway following the success of the mobile travel time signs. These have been used for safety messaging as well as giving motorists real time information about the quickest route to the city,” Mr Steel said.

“The Parkway will remain a 100km/h zone, however the new variable speed signs will be installed on the Tuggeranong Parkway to improve safety. The speed limit may be varied in circumstances were accident or roadwork occurs on the Parkway and during peaks, to reduce the speed of cars approaching the tail of the resulting traffic jam, or to improve the volume of traffic flow where it can more safely and efficiently proceed at a lower speed.”

Traffic lights will be installed to improve road safety and pedestrian access at four key intersections in Belconnen and Woden: Belconnen Way/Springvale Drive, Hawker; Southern Cross Drive/Starke Street, Holt; Launceston Street/Irving Street, Phillip; and Kuringa Drive/Owen Dixon Drive, Evatt.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the jointly funded package was about bringing forward a pipeline of transport infrastructure projects across the Territory that would create jobs over the next year of the recovery.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said further investment in infrastructure would play a critical role in the Commonwealth’s JobMaker plan and help the ACT economy as it recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This funding injection means we have brought forward or provided additional funding of $48 million to the ACT in the past eight months.

“This package builds on the fast-tracking of $30 million in Monaro Highway funding which we announced last November, locking in upgrades that will increase productivity, improve safety, and boost jobs at a time we need it most.”

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

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