IT has taken years of lobbying, hard work and small triumphs but today it has finally arrived – the opening of northern section of the Ballina Bypass.
Vocal politicians, locals and NSW Roads and Traffic Authority officials will gather at the Teven Road project site today to watch the first vehicle officially drive the upper section of the bypass.
Southbound motorists travelling into Ballina will drive under a bridge at the Ross Lane interchange on to the new bypass for 5.9km to Cumbulam.
The opening of the bypass section cuts out the notorious Tintenbar Hill - the scene of countless truck accidents.
As a strong lobbyist for funding for the bypass, Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin welcomed the opening.
She said it was great to see the project progress, considering the recent wet weather.
“At the East Ballina markets a few weeks ago, people were asking me when they would be able to drive on the bypass soon,” she said.
“I told them that they wouldn’t have to wait too long, and so I’m pleased to be able to say that they will now be able to drive on the northern section of the bypass.
“This really is a long-held dream for many local people and I’m pleased to see the project progressing so well.”
The bypass opening is one part of the $640 million Ballina Bypass project.
Construction of the bypass began in 2008.
The southern section of the bypass is expected to open next year and would include 12km of four-lane road and six-lanes between Teven Road and the Bruxner Highway.
Long-term Ballina Shire Councillor Alan Brown spent huge amounts of time, dedication and often frustration lobbying for the Ballina Bypass.
The chairman of the Ballina Bypass Action Group said he was “absolutely elated” the bypass would finally open.
“The magnificent work that has been done is a credit to the people that have been doing it,” he said.
“It’s a major thing for Ballina, as will be the benefit when the southern section opens."
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