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End in sight after two years of roadworks misery on Cotter Road


Noel Towell

Duffy resident Ron Forrester has been campaigning to have Canberra' longest-running roadworks at the Cotter Road finished.

Duffy resident Ron Forrester has been campaigning to have Canberra' longest-running roadworks at the Cotter Road finished. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

The motorists of Weston Creek and Canberra’s new Molonglo suburbs have endured more than two years of roadworks misery on Cotter Road.

Now the ACT government says their troubles will soon be – mostly – over.

But one local says the pain should have ended a lot sooner and a lot cheaper.

Ron Forrester has been a keen observer of the work on the stretch of Cotter Road, east of the Tuggeranong Parkway, since it began in 2012.

In September 2012, the Duffy resident and two-time Liberal Party election candidate put pen to paper to point out that taxpayers had paid $14 million for 800 metres of road with 12 months allowed to complete the job.

The government’s Economic Development Directorate has defended its handling of the job, saying that roadworks on busy routes are always tricky, but 21 months later, Mr Forrester says commuters of the south-western suburbs are still suffering.

“The new road from the traffic switch (opposite the RSPCA) down to Streeton Drive has been dug up twice in two years, why?” he asked.

Mr Forrester listed a catalogue of problems confronting him and his fellow motorists each day.

“Roadworks are happening so rarely, workmen are barely seen on site, the current traffic switching has been in place for six weeks and no new works have occurred,” he said.

“Travelling from the city to Weston Creek down the Cotter Road, one has to drive over a dangerous hump to get to the “right” side of the road.”

“I have seen a couple of cars almost come to grief collecting the barrier or cars going in the opposite direction.

“The dug-up road on Cotter Road and turning into Streeton Drive seems no closer to being tarred and traffic build-up at peak times is a mess.”

All this did not bode well for a government contemplating the massive task of building a light rail line down one of Canberra’s busiest roads, Mr Forrester said.

“If they cannot manage this relatively small section of road, how difficult is light rail going to be? Imagine Northbourne Avenue under construction for several years,” he said.

But the directorate’s public works and infrastructure boss, Glenn Lacey, said the last of the jobs on the section of road would be finished next month.

“The current Cotter Road/Streeton Drive intersection project was commenced in July 2013 and is on schedule and on budget for completion in August 2014,” Mr Lacey said.

“This project also includes the work undertaken at the Unwin Street and Dixon Drive intersections.

“The decision was made to stagger the two projects so as to reduce, as much as possible, the inconvenience caused to Weston Creek residents using this section of road.”

Next month would see the last of the work on the Cotter Road west of the Tuggeranong Parkway, Mr Lacey said, before work began the section east of the arterial route.

“The current project is the last project on the Cotter Road in the Molonglo precinct,” he said.

“There will be other future works on the Cotter Road, however these will be to the east of the Tuggeranong Parkway and undertaken by Roads ACT.”


  • Thank you for documenting this.

    Same thing happened on the GDE, same thing happened for traffic lights in Mitchell, same thing looks like happening on the Majura Parkway too. There is repeat behaviour here for no apparent reason beyond a suspicion that letting tenders to the lowest bidder isn't really an economically sound proposition. What confidence can we have that the White Elephant on Rails can ever been built on time and on budget?

    Outraged o'P
    Date and time
    July 22, 2014, 7:14AM
    • Poor Mr Forrester, most of us know exactly what he is going through. Driving from the Gungahlin area, I have put up with the GDE (including the collapsing bridge), Parkes Way and now of course Majura Rd. Why does the ACT govt insist on starting multiple road projects and have them blow out in time and money? Maybe just one project at a time?

      Date and time
      July 22, 2014, 8:07AM
      • Parkes Way and it wasn"t finished properly, Monaro Hwy & Majura Parkway, what a bloody shambles, guaranteed to go well over cost and time and all I want is a quarter mile of asphalt and a run off area re-established to replace the original privately funded facility that was uncerimouniously closed by a negligent ACT Government.

        Date and time
        July 22, 2014, 11:40AM
      • I am just generalising all the comments. It is common people can comment what ever they like. I too travel in this road from nearly three years and perhaps I travel on other roads under construction and I am a construction worker. Each project and job has got its own problems and has its own time to complete. It is not something like writing ABCD like kids. I am a layman and I can talk & criticise Doctor or Scientists about their profession in treating patients or building rockets. How frustrating it would be for Doctors or Scientists? They will be smart enough if they ignore me and that is the way it should be dealt. If constructions are not carried here and there at a time, where should we labourers and our families go for survival? Imagine no jobs, no economy etc. Each and every project links to different jobs and employments. I think people should think before commenting. Any comments....?

        Western creek
        Date and time
        July 22, 2014, 6:54PM
    • Pathetic is the only way to describe the duration of this small project. The suburb of Molongo and all the infrastructure was built quicker. Go figure.

      Date and time
      July 22, 2014, 8:09AM
      • What do you expect with incompetent Kate Gallagher and Andrew Barr in charge of Canberra? They jet off overseas constantly without giving a thought to all the unfinished projects they leave behind.

        Date and time
        July 22, 2014, 8:50AM
        • And it's the same company as the GDE

          Date and time
          July 22, 2014, 8:57AM
          • The same thing can be said for the Canberra Avenue roadworks in which they commenced in November 2013, and all they did on such small stretch of road was ...ummm add a bus lane and put some schmancy rock wall up? Coupled with some ridiculous amount of inconvenience. This is probably small compared to the other major works, but just another issue to the whole issue of the Government and its inability to complete works on time and efficiently.... Going for the lowest bidder ALWAYS fails.

            Date and time
            July 22, 2014, 9:21AM
            • First world scarf wearing public servant problems. My latte was really at the right temperature this morning, I will be sulking until Christmas. Oh dear how do we all cope getting out of bed each day with all these big issues.

              Dames and Knights
              Date and time
              July 22, 2014, 9:31AM
              • Dear Dames and Knights, just for your info, I am not a public servant and the temperature was about 4 degrees when the photo was taken. I do not drink lattes. I am however a rate payer and would prefer my tax dollars to be spent in an appropriate way. If you think spending $28.5 million on this section of road over 2.5 years is good value, then perhaps we're from different schools of thought!

                Date and time
                July 22, 2014, 1:00PM

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