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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 590 ..

Molonglo Valley—infrastructure

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Minister, last week Coppins Crossing, on the Molonglo River, which is the only northern bound exit from the Molonglo Valley, was closed and is still closed, I believe, due to flooding. As a result, peak hour traffic on Cotter Road, the only other exit, is slowed to walking pace for many kilometres. During last year’s election campaign, after years and years of local members and the community asking when the new bridge over the river would be constructed, the government finally committed to building a bridge. Minister, when will construction begin?

MR STEEL: Following the design of the project, and in relation to the very long description Mrs Jones has provided to the Assembly, we do know that there is significant congestion on John Gorton Drive and the Cotter Road. At the moment, right across the country, what we are seeing is public transport patronage affected by the pandemic. Public health messaging has been asking people not to travel at peak times. It is down about 24 per cent, and that has resulted in significant congestion in not only Canberra but also areas like Perth and other CBDs around the country. We expect that, over time, that will correct itself as we come out of the pandemic.

The ACT government has a significant infrastructure program underway not only to build the bridge over the Molonglo River and the lead-up road, the 500-metre extension to John Gorton Drive, but also works to duplicate William Hovell Drive—

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, on a point of order—relevance—the question was: when will construction begin? The minister is talking about a broad range of infrastructure across Canberra. This is a specific question about the construction and commencement of a bridge.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, thank you. The response is in order. Mrs Jones, in her question, made reference to broader infrastructure and the congestion on the roads. Mr Steel, in the time remaining.

MR STEEL: Thank you. As I mentioned, it will occur following the design of the project, and the procurement of this very substantial and comprehensive project. The ACT government has a range of projects underway which are complementary. There continue to be feasibility studies on upgrades to the south-west corridor of the city, which of course is a major corridor for those coming out of the Molonglo Valley into the city on the Tuggeranong Parkway, through Glenloch Interchange and onto Parkes way.

MRS JONES: Minister, in which month of which year will construction begin on the bridge?

MR STEEL: That is subject to the design and procurement.

MR HANSON: Minister, when will it open?

MR STEEL: It is anticipated at this stage that it could open as early as 2025.

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