Albury traffic model presented to councillors paints positive picture of city traffic conditions

A MUCH-anticipated Albury traffic model more than two years in the making has revealed no major upgrades of Thurgoona Drive and Borella Road are needed in the short term and the city’s peak congestion periods are restricted to only 15 minutes.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Albury mayor Kevin Mack on Thurgoona Drive where a traffic study has revealed motorists only encounter 15 minutes of pain each day. Picture:  KYLIE ESLER

NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Albury mayor Kevin Mack on Thurgoona Drive where a traffic study has revealed motorists only encounter 15 minutes of pain each day. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

The traffic blueprint compiled by council, NSW Roads and Maritime Services and traffic movement experts have also found cars can move quicker through the Borella Road freeway interchange with tweaks to the traffic light signalling sequencing.

Widening Thurgoona Drive and Borella Road may not be required for 20 years despite rapid population growth and business and health services expansion in those areas respectively.

Community information sessions on the model findings will begin in Thurgoona before Easter.

Engineering director Brad Ferris said Albury had 15-minute morning and afternoon peaks which generated the most negative feedback on traffic.

“Albury has very short peaks and yes there is a congestion, but it clears relatively quickly,” he said.

“At 9am at Thurgoona Drive, Elizabeth Mitchell Drive you maybe 15th in line because of the school activity, but at 10am you probably don’t have to give way.

“Travel times will probably be longer to go an alternate route so motorists will stay in the line and will be frustrated at times about being 15th in line or don’t get through a cycle of lights.”

Albury Council director Brad Ferris

Albury Council director Brad Ferris

Mr Ferris said council would work closely with RMS to improve traffic flow at major intersections.

“It is more about trying to get those efficiencies out of the intersections rather than building a new bridge or making Thurgoona Drive four lanes or extending the Borella Road bridge,” he said.

“To spend $20 million for a 15-minute peak won’t stack up.

“If some of the predictions turn out to be slightly different it is just a matter of updating and re-running the model.”

Cr Murray King said problems on Thurgoona Drive and Borella Road needed immediate attention.

“I think we need to priorities things that have already been self-identified and build wider roads, but not in 20 years time,” he said.

The Thurgoona Drive-Elizabeth Mitchell Drive roundabout is due to be upgraded next with an expansion to two lanes and extended carriage way on the approaches under consideration.

Cr van de Ven asked when would motorists see some changes to traffic light signalling.

“I’ve been advocating for changes to traffic light sequencing for 10 years since the freeway opened,” he said.

“From my perspective I’ve seen nothing change even though our north-south and east-west patterns have totally changed.”

Mr Ferris said every two years the city’s top 30 intersections were reviewed.

“We can tweak the phasing of different intersections in co-operation with RMS,” he said.

Other key findings of the model include central Albury being the main focus and destination for traffic and there are opportunities to grow other modes of transport including cycling.

An initial increase of three per cent will be targeted to grow other modes of transport, but it will be still well below the figure of 10 per cent presently occurring in Wagga.

Community information sessions will be held at Thurgoona Country Club on March 20 and 28, Mirambeena Community Centre on April 10 and the council offices on April 18.

All sessions will begin at 6pm.