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.”