I thank the Minister for Roads and Parking for his update this morning. As he said, an integrated transport system must cater for all modes of travel. The ACT is investing in public transport, including light rail, but we must also continue to invest in a better road network which caters for cars, buses, cyclists, pedestrians and freight.
As a Gungahlin resident and representative, I know how important it is to invest in our road network here in the ACT. In Gungahlin, rapid population growth is undeniable, with an increase from just over 300 people to over 50,000 in the past 25 years. This growth must be directed by a vision that includes high quality transport connections throughout the whole of Canberra.
As Minister Gentleman has said, the Majura Parkway is a vitally important road project that will deliver 11.5 kilometres of dual carriageway connecting the Federal Highway through to the Monaro Highway. This will be accompanied by another investment to upgrade the intersection of the Federal Highway and Majura Road, which will become the connection to the Majura Parkway. This will benefit the people of Gungahlin and, indeed, the whole Canberra community.
The Majura Parkway project was funded in 2011 by the Commonwealth and ACT governments and will create significant long-term economic, social and environmental benefits. It will provide improved access to Canberra Airport, take pressure off residential streets and main road corridors, and make our roads safer. It will relieve traffic congestion and provide better access across the Majura valley, enable better movement of traffic from the north to the south side of Canberra, and provide other important benefits like better fuel consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
I have driven past and along parts of the Majura Parkway project many times, and each time you can really see the progress being made on this significant $288 million project. The new developments at Majura Park, including the much anticipated IKEA, will no doubt be looking forward to the extra business and activity this new road will bring. With 80 per cent of the works complete, it will not be long before we are seeing the benefits of the parkway in action, with expected completion of the project still on track for mid-2016.
As the Minister said, the Majura Parkway is just one part of our record capital works program. I would like to talk briefly about the projects the Minister mentioned in Gungahlin, and the progress being made there to improve the road network which is so important to local residents and businesses.
It is no secret that Gungahlin is the fastest growing area in Australia, responsible for 71 per cent of the total growth in the territory in 2013-14, with Crace and Harrison gaining an extra 1,000 residents in one year alone. Having been an MLA now for just four months, in this time I have found that roads are the main local issue people raise with me. In a recent Gungahlin Community Council survey of 1,300 people, two-thirds said there were roads or traffic issues in Gungahlin that concerned them. As a resident, I know how congested some of our roads are and that the daily commute is getting longer.
The ACT Labor Government has a long-term plan to integrate our roads and public transport system so we can address these congestion issues. This includes the vital start of the light rail network, capital metro, as well as addressing some of the structural issues with our roads. I have met with the minister on many occasions since coming to this place, and also with representatives from the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate, to discuss road issues and priorities. They understand these concerns and are working hard to address them. I will continue to campaign on local road issues. Indeed, today I will be presenting a petition with more than 1,000 signatures to Minister Gentleman to see Gundaroo Drive duplicated.
It is very important to reiterate the benefits to the community of the recently announced upgrades to Gungahlin Drive that Minister Gentleman spoke about, with the 1.6-kilometre section from north of Sandford Street to the Barton Highway slated to be widened to three lanes. An additional signalised left-turn lane will also be provided from Well Station Drive to help move more traffic. Widening this section of Gungahlin Drive will significantly improve the morning commute for hundreds of people who currently queue back up beyond Palmerston.
The Government is also upgrading the intersection at Horse Park Drive and Anthony Rolfe Avenue to improve safety and traffic flow, another step in our plan to improve Horse Park Drive. And we have made a commitment to upgrade the Barton Highway, Gundaroo Drive, William Slim Drive roundabout to improve safety and traffic flow on one of the territory’s most dangerous intersections.
It is clear that the ACT Labor Government is working hard to improve the road network in Gungahlin, and Canberra more broadly, which will help alleviate traffic congestion, particularly at peak times. The projects I have mentioned and that Minister Gentleman outlined are all part of a suite of works across the ACT to ensure we have roads that are safe and that cater to our growing city. I will continue to work with the community to ensure our roads are the best they can be. I thank Minister Gentleman for his update today, and look forward to further updates regarding the progress we are making as we continue to invest in roads around the territory.