A vital link through southern New South Wales has been completed with the opening of the Ellerton Drive extension, unlocking the region by reducing congestion and heavy vehicles in the CBD and taking traffic pressure off a growing Queanbeyan.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the 4.6-kilometre extension of Ellerton Drive to connect Queanbeyan East with Karabar, Jerrabomberra and Googong included a new bridge crossing of the Queanbeyan River.
“This provides an alternative route around the Queanbeyan CBD and links traffic to the growing southern suburbs,” Mr McCormack said.
“This $86 million project started construction in November 2017 and will be opened to traffic on schedule in the next few days. This is a great win for the communities of Queanbeyan and Karabar, providing a new, safer and smoother connection while laying the foundations for the region’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.”
NSW Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro said the new bridge had a number of innovative design features to safeguard the local community well into the future.
“This is the kind of project that provides real and immediate benefits to a growing community,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The bridge, which provides an additional crossing over the Queanbeyan River, is able to withstand a one-in-100-year flood event, meaning that our community will have the infrastructure it needs moving forward.”
NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the project had supported about 100 direct jobs and about 300 indirect jobs in a major boost for the local economy.
“We are building the vital infrastructure projects that not only connect communities and ensure people get home sooner and safer, but projects that create jobs and help keep money in local communities,” Mr Toole said.
“These are projects that make a real difference to people’s everyday lives in regional communities.”
Senator for New South Wales Perin Davey said the project showed the commitment of all tiers of government to growing the region.
“The Australian and NSW governments have each committed $25 million towards the project, while Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has committed $36 million,” Senator Davey said.
“As well as the travel time saved compared to the existing route, motorists will avoid up to 19 intersections, three sets of traffic signals and the 50 km/h speed limit through Queanbeyan.”
Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan said the project would be a major boost for locals and visitors while also providing an alternative route to explore the region.
“The extension will reduce traffic congestion and heavy vehicles travelling through the Queanbeyan CBD,” Senator Molan said.
“Benefits of the new road will include a 35 per cent saving in travel time compared to travelling through the main street of Queanbeyan, making the town more liveable for locals as well as visitors. It will also serve as a gateway to the surrounding region.”
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall said the new single-lane road in each direction also included a number of overtaking lanes along the stretch, among other improvements.
“An additional 700 metres of existing Ellerton Drive has been upgraded, while pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy the 2.5-metre-wide shared path along the whole length of the road, six fauna pathways and fauna exclusion fencing,” Cr Overall said.
“Council is excited to be progressing this important transformation and revitalisation of the city centre, which also delivered 2.8 kilometres of noise walls to ensure this area will continue to be a beautiful place to live and work.”
The speed zone on the majority of Ellerton Drive will be 80 km/h. The speed limit on the existing section of Ellerton Drive will be increased from 50 km/h to 60 km/h and a short section of Ellerton Drive near the intersection with Old Cooma Road will be signposted as 70 km/h.Crews will complete minor work including landscaping and maintenance over coming weeks. Motorists are asked to follow the direction of traffic controllers and signs and observe posted speed limits.