The Northern Territory Government wants Barneson Boulevard to be one of the greenest infrastructure projects undertaken in Darwin and has called on the local community to share their landscaping ideas.

Over 160 Territorians offered submissions to the Northern Territory Government in response to its public consultation on landscaping the Barneson Boulevard project.

Feedback on landscaping concepts, tree species and public art possibilities was also acquired through one-on-one meetings, pop up information booths and workshops.

The Barneson Boulevard and Tiger Brennan Drive Stage 3 Project will provide a third entry point to Darwin’s CBD, with the aim of dispersing traffic more equally throughout the city and reducing congestion on roads that are almost at capacity.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the new entrance had been in the works for years.

“Along with the completion of Tiger Brennan Drive, this project will improve traffic flow into the CBD and provide a landmark entry in the capital of the North,” Mr Chester said.

Project landscaping a key consideration

The $39.5 million project is being delivered in partnership with the Australian Government, who are providing $29.5 million, and the Northern Territory Government and the City of Darwin Council who are each providing $5 million.

Funding from the Australian Government also includes the completion of the duplication of Tiger Brennan Drive from Dinah Beach Road to McMinn Street.

Greening is one of the key aspects of the project, with approximately 200 shade trees due to be planted along the new Barneson Boulevard.

Trees will be in keeping with the flora of the surrounding area and will likely include natives designed to thrive in the particular environment of the Northern Territory such as Milkwood, Yellow Flame Tree, White Bush Apple, Mataranka Palms, Beach Hibiscus, Paperbark, Pongamia and Pandanus.

$7 million has been set aside in the project for landscaping, which includes a portion of funds for public art.

For the first time, cyclists will have their own lane separate from both vehicles and pedestrians, providing a direct link to the centre of the CBD and connecting to an extensive off road network.

Along with the ACT, more people cycle in the NT in any given week (per capita) than any other jurisdiction and the new cycle path is expected to increase the number of people cycling to and from the Darwin CBD.

The shaded tropical boulevard is also consistent with plans to revitalise Darwin CBD into a cooler, more pedestrian-friendly city centre.

Potential impacts of construction

Concerns have been raised about the impact of construction on the heritage listed Frog Hollow Park, with Darwin Council Alderman Simon Niblock requesting that the Northern Territory Government prepare a report outlining alternative options for the road, which avoid dissecting Frog Hollow Park and Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts.

Information released by the Government states that the heritage listed park will remain approximately 1.13 hectares in size and will be preserved as a public space for the benefit of the community.

Dedicated pedestrian and cyclist paths will be put in place to improve access to Frog Hollow and concept public space plans have allowed for an amphitheatre to be built into the road verge alongside Frog Hollow for public performances.

Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Nicole Manison said the project would create jobs in the short term, and opportunity in the long term by opening up access to unused land for commercial and community development.

“This is a job-creating infrastructure project that will give a boost to the Top End construction industry.

And in the longer term, the opportunity for economic development and the opening up of this part of the city will have a positive impact on the CBD,” Ms Manison said.

With the Northern Territory Department of Treasury and Finance predictions on population increases from 231,292 in 2011 to 319,533 by 2031, and 364,207 by 2041, Government officials see the Barneson Boulevard project as a necessary step in ensuring the long-term prosperity of Darwin’s CBD.

The Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) released its decision in November 2017 that the potential environmental impacts and risks of this project are not so significant as to warrant further assessment by the NT EPA and that potential impacts and risks can be managed by DIPL through appropriate mitigation and management actions.

Construction is expected to commence by May 2018 and be completed by the end of 2020.

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