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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Accident at Byron turnoff hospitalises two

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The scene of yesterday's accident at Byron Bay interchange on the Pacific Highway. Photo Jeff Dawson
The scene of yesterday’s accident at Byron Bay interchange on the Pacific Highway.

[Updated 7am Thursday] Two people are in the Tweed Hospital, one in a critical condition, after a multi-vehicle accident on the Pacific Highway near the Ewingsdale Road interchange yesterday.

And a subsequent accident on one of the alternative routes created gridlock on the area’s roads for most of yesterday’s peak.

The original accident  occurred at the northbound entrance from Byron Bay, at a pinch-point created by the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale roadworks, where the formerly dual-lane divided highway has been reduced into a single lane in each direction facing oncoming traffic.

It  involved two trucks and two cars, and for several hours it completely closed the road to traffic.

The car-carrier involved in yesterday's accident at Byron Bay interchange on the Pacific Highway. Photo Jeff Dawson
The car-carrier involved in yesterday’s accident at Byron Bay interchange on the Pacific Highway.

Police say that about 1.30pm yesterday (Wednesday February 19), a southbound car-carrier truck took the Byron Bay exit but the driver then decided to re-enter the highway via the Ewingsdale roundabout.

In so doing his truck crossed onto the northbound side of the road and side-swiped a cement truck.

It then collided heavily with a car, pushing it back some 50 metres and causing it, in turn, to collide with another car.

Both the driver and passenger of the first car hit were taken to the Tweed Hospital.

The 65-year-old female driver is suffering fractures and severe internal injuries and remains in a critical condition.

The 70-year-old male passenger suffered fractured ribs and severe bruising and is now in a stable condition.

Police Rescue and Brunswick Valley VRA had to free of the driver of the car carrier.

The 43-year-old male was flown to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition  suffering fractured ribs and severe bruising.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

No-one was injured in the second accident on Myocum Road.

The cement truck involved in yesterday's accident at Byron Bay interchange on the Pacific Highway. Photo Jeff Dawson
The cement truck involved in yesterday’s accident at Byron Bay interchange on the Pacific Highway.

Gridlock

Northbound  traffic was initially diverted via Myocum Road but a road roller fell off the back of a truck that had taken the diversion, despite an RMS warning that it was for light vehicles only. As at 5pm a stop-go operation was underway there.

Vehicles travelling northbound were then required to use the southbound lanes of the highway north of Ewingsdale Road, while southbound traffic was  diverted onto the Old Pacific Highway, rejoining the main highway at the Ewingsdale Road roundabout.

At 5.30pm Ewingsdale Road was in a virtual state of gridlock both in and out of Byron Bay.

Southbound highway traffic was banked up to Gulgan Road and northbound traffic to the top of St Helena.

As of midnight Wednesday, the highway has been flowing normally.

How did the traffic jam affect your trip home? Leave your comments at the foot of this article.

 

 

Around two hours after the multi-vehicle smash which blocked the Pacific Highway, a low-loader with earthworks machine toppled over on Myocum Road about four kilometres west of the highway accident. No-one was injured in that accident. Photo Luis Feliu
Around two hours after the multi-vehicle smash which blocked the Pacific Highway, a low-loader with earthworks machine toppled over on Myocum Road about four kilometres west of the highway accident. No-one was injured in that accident. Photo Luis Feliu


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33 COMMENTS

  1. It was sickening to see the wreckage of that terrible accident on the highway. We drive so close to each other at such high speed, and put out of our mind the major consequences if just a small mistake is made. It’s a real reminder to be concentrating all the time.

  2. I am very surprised there has not been an accident before this. It is so dangerous, especially at night. Signs heading south from Greys Lane are dangerous as well. They are too far back. travelling this road everyday and you really have to keep your wits about you. So sorry for the injuries yesterday and so grateful for no fatalities. Not sure why we were not diverted along Tyagarah Rd and Myocum Rd?

    • That was the original diversion but there was a secondary accident on Myocum Road involving a road roller, which flipped on its back (see pic above). – Ed

  3. Way too many accidents and road deaths in the Byron Shire already this year and this section of the highway is particularly treacherous. Shocking.

    • Twaddle…the accidents (quantitiy ie hardly any) while always regrettable are what you would expect by chance…think about the volume of traffic on these roads and in fact the roads are very safe..ppl always make this mistake-a very common causal/correlation fallacy. Just cox youve seen one accident they must happen everywhere..

  4. It was always going to happen
    Very bad organisation of the road and extremely dangerous at any time at the point of diversion
    It took me 21/4 hours to come from Lismore to Brunswick Heads going via Coolamon Scenic Drive which had massive queues towards Mullum and extremely dangerous road in parts for the amount of traffice

  5. They need barricades there. Coming from Byron heading north onto the highway is quite tricky, it wouldn’t take much for someone to forget that they are now merging onto a single lane instead of the 2 it used to be. Put some of that high tension wire there at least. People will be killed there before too long.

  6. Since these road works have started I have never feel safe when exiting the Byron round-about to join the freeway traveling north. It is particularly frightening at night and when it has been raining. As yesterday’s accident attests – it only takes one mistake (or one person being impatient or aggressive) to create carnage. Wishing a full recovery to those injured.

  7. JAN VOS: So glad to have SOLD out of EWINGSDALE/BYRON BAY!!

    Byron BAY has become a MONSTER of PARADISE!!
    The Traffic that” DESTROYED ATE PARIS” !!
    & now for more NEWS!!
    Michael Pinkerton that was also killed!!
    signed the DALMATION WOMAN

  8. I was on the Brisbane to Byron bus on the way to Byron and we were stopped for quite a while on the HWY in the heat until they got the alternative routes working. All the road works have been very distracting and I wondered how long it would be until an accident. Sadly it was yesterday. I wish those injured well and hope they recover soon.

  9. Why in the hell doesn’t the RTA open Woodford Rd one way to allow the bulk of Byron Traffic to go through there!!!! It just sits there doing nothing, perfectly good sealed road. Not forever, just temporarily until the highway mess is finished. Maybe it would be a better for the flow of traffic into Byron town, duh!!

    I just don’t get it. Can someone explain why we can’t use Woodford Rd?

    And yes thanks goodness no one died!

    • Because it’s dangerous
      Because everyone is flying of the high way into wood ford lane
      And poee have been hurt there
      That’s why it closed !

  10. I was traveling north on the M1 when the RMS posted the useless message on the traffic info signs, ‘M1 traffic blocked. Use alternate route’ Being from elsewhere in NSW like perhaps 70%of travelers, we had no idea whatsoever what alternate routes were available. Perhaps the RMS can give better info like take x or y roads to avoid the area.

  11. I live at McLeods shoot witnessing too many dangerous drivers in way too much of a hurry. Actually quite surprised that there are not even more accidents considering far too many people treat it like the autobonn in Europe

  12. Left work at 4pm in Byron and walked in my door at Bruns at 5.50pm – long trip – guess it could not be helped with that dreadful accident but this whole road set up by RTA is an accident waiting to happen. I drive in every day and see “almost” accidents regularly because people not travelling the road daily do not know where to go. Even travelling daily the lay out of the lane into Byron keeps changing.

    Why they do not open Woodford Rd to traffic into Byron – at the roundabout you have to watch for the trucks but “stop go guy” is up near the cement works?? “Stop go Guy” is stopping traffic heading out of Byron – not for the safety of travelers on the road but to prevent delays at the side roadt for RTA trucks.

    Something I cannot understand is why the speed limit on the lane southbound into Byron drops to 60kph but the single lane to Ballina with the diversion carrying all the big trucks, and the northbound merging lane from Byron is 80kph. This is not “rocket science”, tricky diversion with north and southbound traffic down to single lane – drop the limit. Makes sense when the single lane to Byron is 60kph. This accident falls totally on mismanagement by the RTA and if they don’t put some more basic brain work into it it will not be the last.

    Thoughts go out to all involved in the accident.

  13. So relieved no one died. the rumours indicated there was fatalities. During my drive time show on Bay FM i had a captive audience. Hope everyone enjoyed the tunes and road info we supplied.

  14. Had to happen.
    That whole area is a day and nightmare! I know it will be wonderful when it is all finished but the detours now are just ludicrous. I can be better managed and the RMS need to do that yesterday or we will see fatalities tomorrow !

  15. Me and my sister were the first cars behind those involved in the accident coming from the north. I just have to say I was really impressed by the young men in the white car – after being in an accident like this, and instead of going into shock, they teamed together to try to free the couple trapped in the red car.

  16. So sorry to hear about the accidents and my thoughts are with those that were in them. The stretch of road between Myocum and Woodburn is scary at night. I’ve had several problems with trucks traveling at high speeds and tailgating me just because I’m going at the posted speed limit. I’ve had truckers try to run me off the road or two sandwich me. It’s almost like it’s a playing field for some truckers and it’s really disturbing. I was wondering if anyone else has had problems like that. My last incident was a couple weeks ago when a trucker tried to pass me at an overtaking lane as it was nearing the end and I was forced on to the side of the road. He road right up the backend of the crane in front which was going 5km under speed and honked loudly for about a minute. I’m beginning to agree that it might be better to take the trucks off the road and put them on rail with this sort of behaviour. From my experience it’s only been trucks doing this sort of dangerous driving. It really is a worry and I hope the truckers that are doing this start practicing safe driving instead of thinking they own the road. These accidents are sober reminders of what happens when heavy vehicles impact little cars. This accident doesn’t sound like what I’ve been experiencing but scary to consider what could happen if one of the rowdy truck drivers goes too far. Wishing a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

  17. Traveling back from Gold Coast to Lismore took 2.45h for a 1.30 trip. The old Pacific Hwy is definately old, Getting back on the highway was just as bad due to the fact that a lot of the drivers in front of me had no idea where they were probably going in the first place let alone via a detour. Sightseeing was also a problem with cars that should be on the left veering to the right to get a better view of the accident. All of the trucks were let through on the highway up to the accident spot then slowly let through which caused more issues with cars getting back onto the highway at the exit.The road works have made issues but at time drivers also contribute to the problems.

  18. Thanks to BAYFM for the relaxing tunes that got us through! I felt like they were soothing the stranded masses. So sorry for those directly affected.

  19. My daughter, her baby and I were driving back to Alstonville from Ocean Shores, when we were caught up in the traffic. It took nearly 2 hours to get home – very hot – and thank goodness the little one slept. Very sobering trip, and all our good wishes and a speedy recovery for those who were injured.

  20. I use the highway between Ballina, Bangalow, Byron and Mullum every day and am amazed on a daily bases who irresponsible people behave. We all have to put up with certain restriction during the Highway upgrade, but it seems that very few take notice of the speed limits, actually I think that the main offenders are the huge earth moving trucks and pick ups, all clearly marked with a small dark square and a number on the side of the vehicle. It is very sad that people get hurt by yesterdays accident, but I am afraid that a much worse accident could happen soon if one of those speeding earth moving trucks loses control. Please everybody stick to the speed limits, not just while driving past the St. Helena camera, speeding wont help you anyway because you will be slowed down by someone who drives at the correct speed and there is no where to overtake. let’s stay safe.

  21. I agree, bring back our railway and get the trucks off our roads………they shouldn’t be on them….rail is faster, cleaner and more efficient….and safer. Our roads would also be safer. I am regularly terrorised by massive trucks up my arse…I travel at the speed limit, many trucks don’t. Reinstate our railways.

  22. Yes, To everyone who said, “Bring back the rail!” People have been saying this for years. All the accidents about 2 weeks ago on, a number fatal; plus all the others on the roads in our Northern Rivers. What are we going to get? According to that rail corridor rail study (used very old information), more buses and the road and this is said to be safe! A very quick rethink is immediately needed to be acknowledged and announced – the trains start again and trains should never have been stopped! With day trains too of course. Jillian Spring

  23. I live on one of the back roads and we always know when there is an accident on the highway, because the traffic on our roads increases heavily. The people who take these diversions, unfortunately, do not know how to drive along them, don`t slow down, don`t move over, do sightseeing ….it becomes very dangerous. We have dairy farms with cattle crossing the road and a horse riding school, so it potentially becomes much more dangerous……….. there are extra things to look out for, so please, if you have to take a back road, drive appropriately..

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