Second Bay rail crossing hurdles
Approval for a second crossing is essential for any progress to be made on the council’s favoured mini-bypass plan – a proposal that has failed so far to gain widespread community support.
But even if rail officials do give the council the nod, there are still obstacles to overcome, including access to railway land on the proposed route and also privately-owned land.
And although it’s unlikely in the near future, there is also the issue of trains possibly returning to the Casino-Murwillumbah line.
It’s understood that if that does happen, rail authorities would require a flyover to be built over the tracks which, because of land constraints, would be a major stumbling block.
A map released last week by the council shows the mini-bypass crossing the tracks at the existing emergency crossing off Butler Street at the southern end of the railway station.
It then takes a diagonal path left across the existing carpark and turning right through a vacant block of land behind the Byron Visitor Centre now used by backpacker hostel vans as a parking area to meet arriving coaches.
From there it is planned to link up with a new roundabout at the intersection of Jonson and Marvell streets.
The council’s director of asset management services, Phil Holloway, said the recent Main Road 545 (MR545) traffic study found that Byron Bay’s traffic solution was about access, not a bypass.
Mr Holloway said the MR545 study found more than 80 percent of vehicles entered and stayed within Byron Bay for at least three hours, with most staying longer.
“The MR545 Study shows Byron Bay town is the destination for most vehicles and therefore improved access to, and traffic distribution within the town centre, is required. Not a bypass of it,” he said.
“A true bypass would serve a minority of travellers and is hard to justify in terms of cost-to-benefit and attracting the necessary approvals and funding.”
Mr Holloway said the location of the second rail crossing was the key to successful traffic flow movement.
He said the study showed the further south a new access point was located, the less traffic it would attract and therefore not alleviate the congestion and lack of traffic movement most notable at peak times.
A copy of the Strategic Study of Main Road 545 (MR545) can be found at www.byron.nsw.gov.au/meetings/meeting/218