$33m Molonglo Valley road, water project delayed until after Whitlam land release
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$33m Molonglo Valley road, water project delayed until after Whitlam land release

A $33 million project to build new infrastructure for the new suburb of Whitlam in the Molonglo Valley is unlikely to be finished before 500 blocks of land are released in the area next year.

The ACT government's budget review shows the government has pushed back more than $10 million worth of the infrastructure work promised to be complete by the end of 2018-19 until the following fiscal year.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has delayed spending $10 million worth of work on a key infrastructure project for the Molonglo Valley.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has delayed spending $10 million worth of work on a key infrastructure project for the Molonglo Valley.

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

While the territory's land release program shows 500 blocks in the new suburb of Whitlam are scheduled to be released to the market in 2018-19 and a further 600 the next year, the major road and water headworks needed for the suburb will not be completed until 2019-20.

The delay will also have wider effects on existing residents in the valley, as well as those looking to buy any of the 450 high density dwellings in Coombs and Wright that land is scheduled to be release for in 2018-19

The shift will mean the duplication of 900m of Coppins Crossing Road south from William Hovell Drive towards the Molonglo Valley, as well as a major new 600mm water main may not be finished when the land is released.

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Figures from the updated capital works budget released in the budget review on Tuesday show the original estimate to spend $23.3 million to complete the $32.9 million project by the end of 2018-19 will not happen.

Instead, the government has pushed $10 million worth of that funding into the 2019-20 fiscal year, leaving only $14 million to be spent in 2018-19, effectively delaying the completion by at least 12 months.

But Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the delay was not related to budgeting, rather it was due to the complexity of infrastructure work that was underway in the Molonglo Valley.

He said it was part of the nature of increasing land release that newer areas like the Molonglo Valley had more difficulty topography that made developing the land more difficult.

When worked started on the road duplication in July last year, transport and city services minister Meegan Fitzharris said the valley was a "key growth area" for the ACT.

"The government is building infrastructure now to ensure the necessary roads and services are in place to accommodate the thousands of people who will call this region home," she said at the time.

"It is important that these growing populations have the necessary transport infrastructure in place."

Daniel Burdon

Daniel Burdon is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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