A file photograph of traffic heading for the Byron Bay CBD lined up in Ewingsdale Road.
A file photograph of traffic heading for the Byron Bay CBD lined up in Ewingsdale Road.

Businessman not happy with bypass

Laurie Lynch reckons Byron Council has probably spent more on traffic studies than it would have cost to build the original Byron Bay bypass when it had a chance to do so back in 1996.

Which is why the Byron Bay businessman told councillors at last week’s council meeting that it would be a further waste of money and time to continue to push ahead with the idea of a ‘mini-bypass’ utilising the emergency rail crossing adjacent to the railway station.

With 16 years of involvement in trying to help find a solution to the town’s traffic woes, Mr Lynch said he had no doubt the mini-bypass wouldn’t provide any relief to drivers entering the town from either end.

He said it would provide no solution to the queuing situation, with traffic being directed right back into the middle of town.

“I just don’t see any point in proceeding with the mini-bypass because it is just going to throw more money after money that has been spent,” he said.

The ‘original’ bypass proposal that would have seen Butler Street extended with a rail crossing near Mitre 10 linking up with Browning Street is dead and buried as far as this council is concerned, with insurmountable problems.

Firstly there is the issue of getting State Government approval for a second rail crossing – the same problem exists for the mini-bypass; secondly there is the issue of knocking over trees to accommodate an extension of Butler Street; thirdly there is a legal tangle stretching back to 1986 with the Byron Bay Services Club over parking for patrons on the council-owned land set aside for the bypass; and fourthly, the council is backing the latest consultant’s report called the MR545 Study which said the mini-bypass was the best option for alleviating traffic congestion at Byron Bay.

That study found that the ‘lack of traffic distribution and circulation’ in the CBD was the main reason for traffic queues forming in Ewingsdale Road and Bangalow Road.

A major report on the bypass issue was on the agenda for last Thursday’s council meeting, but time ran out and the item will now be debated at the November 12 meeting. Staff have put forward a recommendation that councillors give in-principle support for the mini-bypass second rail crossing and that staff develop an application for rail authorities to assess.

They have also recommended yet a further traffic flow survey be conducted in the town this coming summer holiday season.

Laurie Lynch may well say to that idea: ‘Save your money. I can tell you that like every summer there will be massive traffic queues along Ewingsdale Road, there will be gridlock in the CBD and a mini-bypass won’t alleviate a thing’.

If Laurie actually did say that, I would say, ‘I’m with you’.

Short of stopping cars coming into the CBD, or building a mega-bypass around the town starting out near the Byron Bay Arts and Industry Estate coming out behind Red Devil Park – and that’s never going to happen – I am convinced there is no single major measure that will ever stop traffic queues in Ewingsdale Road.

Major bypass or mini-bypass, traffic still has to go through the roundabout at Simmon’s service station and then deal with the pedestrian traffic in town. The queues won’t go away.

Byron Bay is just too popular, that’s the plain and simple truth.

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