Woden interchange stairs
The Woden Town Centre is receiving some much-needed love in the 2020-21 ACT Budget, with a number of previously announced major infrastructure projects going ahead.

Keen to know how your region will benefit from the 2020-21 ACT Budget handed down today? Whether you’re a Gowrie girl, a Forde fellow, a Chifley chap, or a Scullin sister, find out what’s been announced right here.

In the 2020-21 ACT Budget, the Barr Government has slated a $914 million investment in infrastructure and capital projects in 2020-21 and $4.3 billion from 2020-21 to 2023-24.

The overwhelming majority of these projects were flagged as either 2020 election promises or in the lead-up to today’s Budget, with many underway and some even complete.

Representing the Territory’s largest-ever infrastructure investment platform, the papers justify the sizeable spend by saying record low interest rates have made borrowing to invest in such projects very appealing.

Key items in the 2020-21 Infrastructure Investment Program include works right across town such as: new high schools in Kenny and Taylor; a new primary school in Throsby and expanding the Margaret Hendry primary school in Taylor; a new 250 megawatt ‘large-scale’ battery storage system; the extension of John Gorton Drive and Molonglo River Bridge project; building light rail to Woden and raising London Circuit; building a new Woden CIT Campus and Bus Interchange, and more.


Gungahlin

With light rail well established in Gungahlin, most of the infrastructure spending will go towards building or expanding schools in the region. File image.

The ever-expanding Gungahlin region has become home to so many young families it has well overtaken Tuggeranong as Canberra’s nappy valley. With many people raising their kids in the region, and lots of transport infrastructure already in place, the bulk of the 2020-21 ACT budget money flowing north is going toward new or existing school facilities.

A new Kenny High School

The Government will provide $24.4 million in capital funding to meet the full construction cost of the new 800 permanent places for the Year 7 to Year 10 high school in the yet to be developed east Gungahlin suburb of Kenny, with the ability to expand to 1,000 students.

The capital funding will address site topology, drainage, additional road works, and parking associated with the site. The Government will also design and construct supporting infrastructure including roads, paths, and bus bays to enable access to the new school.

The school is scheduled to open for the 2023 school year.

New Taylor High School

The ACT Government has allocated $2 million funding to commence works in preparation for a new high school in the north Gungahlin suburb of Taylor.

The initial funding provides for site investigations, master planning and tender-ready design works to be undertaken in 2021 to deliver the high school for the 2024 school year.

The new high school will provide 800 permanent places (and potential for up to 1,000 places) for Year 7 to Year 10 and provide additional enrolment capacity in the North Gungahlin region.

Margaret Hendry primary school expansion

The Government will expand Taylor’s Margaret Hendry School to accommodate expected future enrolment growth in the North Gungahlin area.

Work will commence in 2021, for scheduled completion and delivery by the 2023 school year.

Amaroo School Expansion

$12 million will be invested to expand the permanent capacity of Amaroo School’s senior campus by an additional 200 places.

The expansion will provide new general and specialist learning areas for Year 7 to 10 students, a refurbishment to existing science and technology buildings, and a covered walkway to the library.

Mitchell light rail stop

With construction currently underway, the long-awaited Mitchell Light Rail stop along Stage 1 is due to be complete and operational by mid-2021.

The $12 million project is being 50/50 funded by the Commonwealth and ACT governments.

Gungahlin District Tennis Centre

The Government will spend $300,000 to complete detailed planning and design work for a new district tennis centre in Gungahlin.

While campaigning ahead of last year’s election, Chief Minister Andrew Barr promised $8 million to build the Amaroo facility and anticipated it would take three years to construct.

The proposed Gungahlin facility will include 12 International Tennis Federation standard courts and two hot shots sized courts.


Belconnen

Upgrading roads and intersections are a key focus of infrastructure spending in Belconnen.

The Belconnen region is receiving a number of key roadwork projects in the 2020-21 ACT Budget.

Duplication of William Hovell Drive

Detailed design work is underway to duplicate the final 4.5km unduplicated section of William Hovell Drive between Drake Brockman Drive and John Gorton Drive. The project will support the growing regions of Molonglo Valley and West Belconnen, including the new suburbs of Strathnairn and Macnamara.

Intersection upgrades

Two intersections to receive safety upgrades include the Belconnen Way intersection with Springvale Drive; and Southern Cross Drive intersection with Starke Street.

Upgrading Owen Dixon Drive

The Government will further improve the north-south arterial road, between the Barton Highway and Ginninderra Drive by including a signalised intersection at Owen Dixon Drive.


Central Canberra

Major works in the CBD out of the 2020-21 ACT budget include extending light rail from the City to Commonwealth Park, and redevelopment of the Canberra Theatre Centre.

It comprises the electorate represented by the leaders of ACT Labor and the ACT Greens, but it’s also home to Canberra’s CBD, so it makes sense a lot of key infrastructure investment is going toward Central Canberra.

Light Rail Stage 2A and raising London Circuit

Going hand-in-hand with Light Rail Stage 2A, this work is another one of the Budget’s key infrastructure projects and will be crucial to enabling the transition of light rail from London Circuit into Commonwealth Avenue.

The total cost for building Light Rail to Woden and raising London Circuit, including design, construction, purchase of additional light rail vehicles, an additional depot, and project management is estimated to be in the range of $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion.

Canberra Theatre Centre expansion and redevelopment

$400,000 will go toward continuing business case development for the Canberra Theatre Centre expansion and redevelopment project.

While it’s been a high priority major city infrastructure project for some years, Mr Barr today said he hopes construction will be underway by at least 2024.

“The timeframe for this, when it could fit into the government’s full infrastructure program, will be 2023 through 2026,” he said.

Mr Barr said starting the project is reliant on the sequencing of land releases on London Circuit.

“It would be the carpark opposite the Sydney Building and Bailey’s Corner – it would be part of an integrated arts and cultural precinct,” he said.

“We have the block on the other side of London Circuit opposite the Melbourne Building on the market through an Expression of Interest process with a view that potential purchaser would develop that block for the new Commonwealth agency that are currently in the market for a new building.

“I think the timing of the two needs to be considered; we don’t want to take all of the surface car parking out opposite Sydney and Melbourne buildings at the same time.”

Planning for Pialligo Avenue upgrades

The planning for much needed major road, pedestrian and parking upgrades along Pialligo Avenue will include the assessment of feasibility, and complete design works for the duplication of Pialligo Avenue between Brindabella Circuit and Yass Road across the NSW border.

The upgrades would include new footpaths on Beltana Road, formalised parking and a new left in/left out intersection with Pialligo Avenue on the corner of Beltana and Kallaroo Roads. There are also plans for new landscaping, and an investigation into “traffic calming measures” for Beltana Road.

The planning will also include an assessment for a grade-separated interchange at the intersection of Pialligo Avenue and Fairbairn Avenue.

The Commonwealth and ACT governments are jointly funding this $4 million project.

Upgrading the Old Kingston Bus Depot

This $5.6 million project will improve the safety, accessibility, functionality and sustainability of the heritage facility, with upgrades including: replacing the roof and skylights over the entire complex; replacing the electrical system including the main switchboard; installing energy-efficient light fittings and water-saving fixtures; and refurbishing the upper and lower hall toilet facilities.


Woden

Woden CIT campus and interchange render
The ACT Government has allocated $240 million over the four years to 2023-24 for the combined project to construct the Woden CIT campus and new bus interchange.

The Woden Town Centre is finally receiving some much-needed love in the form of a number of major infrastructure projects, most of which have already been disclosed.

CIT Woden campus and bus interchange

The Government has allocated $240 million over the four years to 2023-24 for the combined project to construct the Woden CIT campus and new bus interchange.

The new flagship CIT Woden campus will replace the institute’s Reid base and support up to 6,500 students annually.

The campus will feature smart classrooms, simulated learning environments, commercial kitchens and hands-on training spaces.

The ageing Woden bus interchange will be replaced with a new interchange on Callam Street. It is designed to deliver on the Woden Masterplan objectives and provide a safe, welcoming and connected environment with more bus stops and bus layovers supporting future increases in services.

A new Light Rail station platform will be built as part of the Woden Interchange project.

Canberra Hospital expansion

Having been first announced in 2016, the $500 million ‘SPIRE’ project – a 40,000 square metre expansion at the existing Woden hospital campus – is described as the largest healthcare infrastructure commitment ever undertaken by the ACT Government.

Several stages are already complete, including a new administrative building completed in March 2020; one building has been refurbished, with another almost completed; and a new four-storey building should be completed soon.

The major project is expected to be complete in 2024.

Centenary Hospital expansion

The $46.6 million expansion of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children to significantly enhance gynaecology, pre- and post-natal, and adolescent mental health services.

First announced four years ago, with an envisaged completion date of March 2021, this project is now expected to be completed in phases by September 2023.

Light Rail Stage 2 – Assessment of Mawson Viability

As per the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement, the Government will undertake a feasibility study to assess the viability of extending light rail to Mawson as part of current planning and works towards Light Rail Stage 2.

Woden Library upgrades

$418,000 will be spent on upgrades to Woden Library to include the creation of new community spaces.

Having opened in 1977, it’s the busiest of the nine public library branches in the ACT.

The existing ground floor café seating, community space and back of house areas of the library will be transformed into two new community spaces with after-hours public access, a community kitchen including improved circulation, and upgraded toilet facilities.


Weston Creek and Molonglo

A render of the proposed John Gorton Drive 3C extension, which includes constructing a bridge across the Molonglo River.

Still in its infancy, the fledgling satellite town of Molonglo will receive 2020-21 ACT budget funding for essential road, school and health infrastructure, while Weston Creek will receive an imaging centre within its Walk-in health centre.

John Gorton Drive and Molonglo River Bridge Crossing

The ACT Government will progress the detailed design and construction of the John Gorton Drive 3C extension, which includes constructing a bridge across the Molonglo River. The project includes a signalised intersection to provide access to the Molonglo Group Centre, on-road cycle lanes, and an off-road shared use path.

When built, the new bridge will span 227.5 metres across the region’s major river.

The completed arterial road and bridge crossing will also support public transport, active travel (on-road cycle lanes and off-road shared paths) and a future light rail route.

Walk-in health centre spending

A pilot Walk-in health centre will open this year in Coombs, while imaging services will be established at the Weston Creek Walk-in centre.

The Government will establish a new walk-in health centre in Coombs. The Coombs Walk-in Health Centre will pilot an alternative model of care, integrating services with general practice and focusing on maternal, child and family health.

The Coombs centre is due to open July this year.

In addition, an outpatient imaging service will be established at Weston Creek Walk-in Centre at a cost of $5.67 million, with CT, ultrasound and X-ray, enabling patients to receive these services quickly and on site.

More broadly, funding for four new walk-in health centres, in addition to the Coombs centre, will be considered for South Tuggeranong, West Belconnen, the Inner South, and North Gungahlin.


Tuggeranong

Major road upgrades are a focus of the 2020-21 ACT budget infrastructure spend planned for Tuggeranong.

Two big ticket road projects await Tuggeranong, with the co-funded Monaro Highway upgrade and Athllon Drive duplication both in the pipeline.

Upgrading Monaro Highway

The Government will continue to progress design and construction for upgrading further sections of the Monaro Highway and will establish a further $30.5 million capital provision for this project in 2024-25.

The $230.5 million project is being facilitated by a Commonwealth grant through the National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure, which will see the Commonwealth contribute 50% of the additional expenditure.

Athllon Drive Duplication

3km of the remaining single carriageway sections of Athllon Drive will be duplicated, between Shea Street and Melrose Drive in Phillip and between Sulwood Drive and Drakeford Drive in Kambah. More than 14,000 vehicles travel on Athllon Drive per day, including nearly 2,000 per hour in the peak periods.

This project will not only provide two lanes in each direction from Woden through to Tuggeranong, it also proposes several intersection upgrades, new active travel infrastructure and will prioritise public transport with a dedicated northbound bus priority lane through Phillip and several bus priority intersections.

A two-year $5.2 million detailed design stage ahead of construction is expected to take three years.

The two-part project is expected to cost up to $75 million.


For more 2020-21 ACT Budget coverage:

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