"Further enhancements" to traffic-flow arrangements in south Tuggeranong from Thursday afternoon
and free bus rides during morning peak traffic for residents in Banks, Conder and Gordon appeared to work on Friday as the road closure continued.
After an outpouring of anger from commuters earlier in the week, several motorists noted on the Canberra Times Facebook page that travel times had improved on Friday, with some reporting delays of five minutes as of 8am and others saying they didn't stop at all when they left home at 7am.
But others suggested the morning traffic had improved because Friday was a quieter day and commuters had changed their routes and travel times to beat the congestion.
Several feared a return to lengthy waits during Friday night peak hour, but the Emergency Services Agency will have extra traffic controllers at the Johnson Drive/Drakeford Drive roundabout to improve traffic flow into Gordon, Banks and Conder as part of "minor changes" for Friday night's peak time following another meeting between ACT government officials and contractors.
For the weekend, off-peak arrangements will remain in place until wweekday peak period arrangements resume from 6am on Monday.
An ESA spokesperson said feedback from the community and traffic marshals "strongly indicated" Friday morning's measures worked extremely well.
ESA commissioner Dominic Lane said on Thursday it was too early to say if the road would be reopened before January 26, but contractors had told him work was on schedule.
A further update to the progress is expected on Monday.
On Thursday morning, changed traffic measures to ease the pressure caused by the closure of Tharwa Drive were met with a mixed response from commuters, with some criticising the still-lengthy delays.
Mr Lane said the traffic flow was better on Thursday morning compared with earlier in the week, but the ESA would go one step further following a meeting between representatives of Territory and Municipal Services, ACT Policing and the building contractors at lunchtime on Thursday.
For the peak period on Thursday afternoon, the temporary traffic lights near the Drakeford Drive/Johnson Drive intersection were moved to improve southerly traffic flow on the roundabout.
From 6am on Friday, Woodcock Drive - between Jim Pike Avenue to Clare Dennis Avenue - was made one-way for northbound traffic - one hour earlier than Thursday's arrangements - until traffic experts on-site determine peak traffic had passed at 9am.
"It certainly alleviated a lot of the pain that motorists have received for the least couple of days," Mr Lane said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, commuters will not have to pay for bus services in the Lanyon Valley until Tharwa Drive is reopened in an effort to alleviate congestion.
A TAMS spokeswoman said morning peak services were 10 to 60 minutes behind schedule earlier this week but new traffic measures from Thursday had reduced delays.
TAMS minister Shane Rattenbury said passengers will not need to tag on or off buses including 18, 19, 318, 319, 718, 719 and 775 from the first service of the day to 9.30am on weekdays, but normal fares will apply to connecting buses.
"We recognise that ACTION passengers in Banks, Conder and Gordon have experienced significant delays and slower bus journeys during the morning peak following the closure of Tharwa Drive," he said.
Mr Lane said there was still congestion at the Lanyon Marketplace roundabout at the Tharwa Drive/Box Hill Drive intersection and suggested drivers use Jim Pike Avenue as the key lead-in to get on to Woodcock Drive in the morning.
"Drivers have been very patient and courteous and certainly observing the road rules and additional restrictions put on in terms of speed limits."
He said the project team planning the new station at Aranda would take every opportunity to avoid the road closures that have marred the construction of the south Tuggeranong station.
The ESA decided to reopen Woodcock Drive in Gordon to two-way traffic earlier than expected at 10am on Thursday. A stretch between Jim Pike Avenue and Clare Dennis Avenue was initially expected to remain one-way to ease congestion for northbound commuters from 7am till 11am.
The ESA's station upgrade and relocation program director Dr Mark Doverty told the ABC the agencies were "close to exhausting all the options" to improve traffic flow and "unreservedly apologised" for the "unacceptable delays".
Traffic controllers, temporary traffic lights during peak hour and emergency access provisions were put in place on Wednesday afternoon to ease the traffic chaos in the Tuggeranong Valley caused by work to install a sewage main for the new South Tuggeranong fire station.