Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Public Works Joint Committee; Report
PERRETT () (): On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works I present the committee's report No. 7 of 2023: National CapitalAuthorityCommonwealth Avenue Bridge, Canberra, ACT,Renewal Project.
Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).
by leave—This report considers a proposal referred in August from the National Capital Authority for the renewal of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge in Canberra. It is a 310-metre bridge in the heart of Canberra that provides a strategically important arterial corridor and is one of two major crossings over Lake Burley Griffin. The total cost of the proposed project is $137.5 million. The Commonwealth Avenue Bridge was designed in the late 1950s to accommodate a 32-tonne weight. As the population of Canberra has grown, so has the number of vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians that cross the bridge daily. The average weight of vehicles has also increased, meaning the bridge now requires reinforcement. The renewal of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will ensure the bridge is safe and meets the current and future needs of all users, extending its life by 50 years.
The proposed works to the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will strengthen the bridge to hold a 44-tonne load and widen the shared pathways from 2.4 metres out to five metres. The works will also replace the traffic and shared safety barriers and upgrade the lighting on the bridge. The project will generate local industry employment opportunities and increase public access to Lake Burley Griffin. The construction works will have an impact on the local community, with disruptions to traffic flows leading to temporary congestion and delays on Commonwealth Avenue—it might extend that peak hour by a couple of minutes—and the surrounding road network. This does not include any construction related to the ACT light-rail system, which the ACT government plans to put across the lake at a later date, but the synergies of working on these were considered.
The committee thanks personnel from the National Capital Authority for facilitating a private briefing and attending a public and in camera hearing in Canberra. The briefing gave members of the committee an opportunity to better understand the need and scope of the works to maintain the functionality of the bridge. The committee considers that this project represents value for money and is satisfactory in terms of need, scope and cost. The committee recommends that it is expedient that the proposed work be carried out. I commend the report to the House.