Road works on Parkes Way in March. Photo: Colleen Petch
Drivers are sick of simultaneous works across territory roads says the ACT Opposition.
Canberra Liberals transport spokesman Alistair Coe says the ACT government’s approach to road repairs is “ad hoc” and the number of roads undergoing work at the same time is frustrating commuters.
But Territory and Municipal Service Minister Shane Rattenbury said Mr Coe was Canberra’s “worst amateur engineer” and the Liberals were the “masters of ad hoc proposals”.
Mr Coe pointed to ongoing works on Barry Drive at the same time as Parkes Way as one example of poor management of the timing of road repairs.
“When you have Parkes Way and Barry Drive in gridlock, what’s the alternative?” he said.
“It’s a real frustration for people.”
The Canberra Liberals MLA said ongoing work on Wentworth Avenue, which was originally due to be finished last week, and new works on Bowen Drive was another irritation for drivers.
In Charnwood, he said the car park at the shopping centre was being resurfaced at the same time that the Woolworths was being redeveloped and a roundabout was being installed for a nearby emergency services station.
The overload of works was affecting local businesses as frustrated customers were simply taking their business elsewhere.
Mr Coe said the problem could be avoided if the government simply managed its projects so that drivers were not hit all at once.
“It is avoidable,” he said.
“People have a fair amount of understanding when governments make decisions from which they are going to reap rewards.
“But when they choose to do things like work on Parkes Way and Barry Drive at the same time it frustrates people.
“Given there is a single authority managing roadworks in the ACT and that we do not have separate councils, it’s unacceptable that road works are not coordinated.”
Mr Coe said there should be a genuine strategy for managing works.
But Mr Rattenbury said the upgrades underway were necessary to reduce the pressures of Canberra’s growing population.
He said he appreciated that road works could be frustrating, but delaying them would cause more inconvenience for drivers later on.
“Roads ACT always aims to coordinate road works across Canberra,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“It’s easy for the Liberals to criticise from the sidelines, but the irony is that Mr Coe is Canberra’s worst amateur engineer and the Liberals are the masters of ad hoc road proposals.
“They frequently call for random, expensive, political-driven road expansions without any costing or strategic planning that would ensure upgrades are prioritised for the needs of our city.”