Delivering better active travel links on Sulwood Drive

The ACT Government is making it easier for people on Canberra’s Southside to choose active travel by delivering the next stage of design on the Sulwood Drive shared path and upgrades to the Mannheim Street intersection near Mount Taylor.

The project will see the construction of a three-metre wide shared path along Sulwood Drive between Drakeford Drive and Athllon Drive.

It will also improve safety and accessibility for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians through the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Mannheim Street and Sulwood Drive, as well as the construction of a dedicated safe right-hand turn into the Mount Taylor car park.

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the upgrades would improve active travel facilities and provide safer parking access for Canberrans who use the Mount Taylor nature reserve, including local residents in Kambah.

“Mount Taylor is a hugely popular recreation destination, and the Government wants to improve safety and access for all people who visit the nature reserve, not just vehicles, but also walkers and cyclists,” said Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel.

“Sulwood Drive, between Drakeford Drive and Athllon Drive, has no formal off-road or on-road cyclist or pedestrian facilities. We are proposing to address this missing link and encourage active travel by building a new 4km off-road path on the Southern side of Sulwood Drive, connecting with the rest of our shared path network.”

A Feasibility Study commissioned by the ACT Government has found that a new off road shared path with appropriate safety barriers could be constructed between the roadway and the sound mound on the Southern side of Sulwood Drive.

Other options have been ruled out on the Southern side of Sulwood Dr due to conflicts with water utilities (under the current dirt path next to the residential boundary), and a path on the Northern side has been ruled out, due to conflicts with the car park and nature reserve (including a threatened Grassy Box Gum Woodland).

In 2018 the ACT Government converted part of the verge along Sulwood Drive in Kambah into a formalised car park, replacing the rutted dirt surface with graded recycled asphalt, creating defined entry and exit points for safer access and egress for parking.

The Government has since been monitoring traffic and undertaking a feasibility study on further safety improvements including crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Feasibility Study found that a traffic light intersection was the most suitable new intersection design, together with road widening to provide a dedicated right hand turning lane into the Mount Taylor car park.

The Government has ruled out a four way roundabout for the location, as it would cut into the car park and wouldn’t support safe pedestrian crossings of the 80km/h road.

“There are currently no safe spots to cross Sulwood Drive for pedestrians and cyclists wanting to access Mount Taylor for exercise and recreation,” Minister Steel said

“A traffic light intersection is the safest solution for pedestrians and cyclists crossing Sulwood Dr and Mannheim Street, and would provide safer right turning movements out of Mannheim Street for vehicles.

“The proposed design also supports a safer turning movements into the Mount Taylor car park with a new dedicated right hand turning lane for Westbound traffic on Sulwood Drive.”

The project team will be at the Mount Taylor Nature Reserve in the car park off Sulwood Drive from 9 am to 11 am on Saturday 19 June 2021 to talk to local residents and visitors to Mount Taylor.

“Over the coming weeks the ACT Government will be engaging with the Southside community to get their feedback on the proposed safety improvements,” Minister Steel said

“I encourage people who live in the area and those who regularly visit the Mount Taylor Nature Reserve to take a look at what is being proposed and share your feedback.

“This phase of works has created around nine jobs which will move this project to a shovel ready state, supporting an estimated 30 jobs during construction”

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