Byron mayor Simon Richardson has thrown his support behind a Bangalow Progress Association campaign to stop traffic to Lismore being diverted through the town.
The group has called a meeting for June 4 to call attention to what is says is ‘the likelihood of more traffic being diverted onto Granuaille Road, Bangalow, and to clearly demonstrate our opposition to this decision by the roads minister and his agency, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).’
Traffic travelling south on the Pacific Highway heading for Lismore currently takes the Bangalow turn-off but the association says that will be exacerbated when the new highway opens because the RMS plans to place specific signage at Ewingsdale directing Lismore-bound traffic to take the existing road and exit at Bangalow.
The group says that daily commuting through Bangalow is increasing greatly, with 2011 census figures showing around 5,000 people commuting daily through the town to work and back.
A traffic count taken during two weeks of February 2015 showed some 117,000 vehicles used Granuaille Road. That’s over 3 million vehicles using the road annually.
According to the study, 85 per cent were passenger cars, most without passengers, and two per cent were semi trailers. Some were even B-doubles.
The group claims there is ‘confusion’ in Roads and Maritime Services as to whether the Lismore-Bangalow Road is approved for B-doubles ‘but there is now clear evidence some use it, as do car carriers, large semi trailers and innumerable trucks.
‘The situation has further deteriorated since demolition of the Binna Burra bridge removed the height limit on the road,’ said Bangalow Progress Association President, Tony Hart.
‘It is now 15 months since the we requested ministerial intervention to stop the sign going ahead but we have had no sensible response from the minister or his department’.
‘Road and Maritime Services’ lack of action or even discussion with affected people is an insult to the community.’
Mr Hart added that residents were not happy and would not rule out street-side protests if the minister and the department did not heed their concerns.
Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson has echoed the community group’s concerns.
‘It makes no sense to build a new highway and then divert traffic off it and instead onto a dangerous and overused road. Surely it is better for those going to Lismore to use the new highway and utilise the well maintained and recently upgraded road through Alstonville to Lismore.’
‘Council has consistently requested RMS to show commitment to the people of Bangalow and look to make Granuaille Road and beyond safer and less traffic choked. Directing more cars and trucks onto this road would be a slap in the face of rational traffic planning and the community,’ said mayor Richardson.
The meeting will take place at Bangalow Heritage House on June 4 from 5.30pm.