Page 2948 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 6 August 2008

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hope that that initial expansion of Caswell Drive will ameliorate the worst of that particular merge—accepting that there are other issues that will be addressed progressively, particularly as a result of the decision that has been announced by the government to duplicate, in the term of the next Assembly, the whole of the GDE.

In relation to car numbers and expectations, the minister for transport would have been a more reasonable minister to approach in relation to the issue. I invite the minister to add a comment if he wishes.

MR HARGREAVES: For the information of members, I remind members of some of the comments that I have made in the public arena around the traffic numbers affected by the Gungahlin Drive extension project. I have said on numerous occasions that there were at least 20,000 vehicles on other major arterials during the course of the construction of the GDE. I have said on a number of occasions that we would look at the treatment for the second stage of the GDE once we knew what the result of the opening would be on the rest of those roads.

We fully expected those cars—the extra 20,000 vehicles on major arterials like Northbourne Avenue, Majura parkway and William Hovell Drive—to gradually come on line along the Caswell part of the GDE. What happened in fact was that the public in Belconnen, particularly, and the public in Gungahlin thought that the road was so fantastic that they all had to get on it a lot earlier than we thought they would. That is the unexpected part that the Chief Minister was talking about. It happened a lot more quickly than we anticipated.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition who are on a warning should not provoke me.

MR HARGREAVES: I remind people again that I said that there were an extra 20,000. In fact, the number increased. It came in at 29,000 at the last count. As I mentioned, I think yesterday, there were 19,000 on the Belconnen Way to the Barton Highway—this is both ways; let us not misconstrue this. And on Caswell Drive, part of the GDE, it was an additional 10,000 from Belconnen Way, making 29,000 going down there. In our count midway through the project of the GDE, we knew that there were approximately 20,000 going down the other arterials that we put down as an implication of the interruption and the disruption that the GDE had caused.

I also remind those opposite of the document that was tabled—to read what it says. It says that over five years it was expected that the traffic volume, particularly in Barton Highway to Belconnen Way—would be filled with cars in zero to five years. It is not like those opposite; there is nothing in their minds at all.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Never mind them, minister.

MR HARGREAVES: No need to build a bridge to nowhere.

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