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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Bangalow residents fuming over Lismore ‘rat run’

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Bangalow-Lismore Road. Removing it from signage could cost councils. Photo Chris Dobney
Bangalow–Lismore Road. Removing it from signage could cost councils. Photo Chris Dobney

The Bangalow Progress Association has objected to new signage proposals by Roads and Maritime Services  (RMS) that will continue to direct Lismore traffic from the Pacific Highway at Bangalow, even when the upgrade is completed.

Progress Association president Tony Hart said the group believed the purpose of the new highway was always to ensure heavy trucks were as far as possible kept off local roads.

‘The intention of the main highway was to encourage freight to stay on that highway,’ he told ABC local radio yesterday.

‘A lot of money is spent building these highways and yet, against local advice, the RMS is proposing a sign at Ewingsdale that will indicate that people should go off the highway to get to Lismore via Bangalow,’ he said.

‘That road is already overloaded. It’s a dangerous road; there have been a lot of deaths on it. Soon we will have a highway that is very safe, yet the RMS is still planning to suggest drivers take what at first appears to be a shortcut but is in fact only about four minutes shorter.’

Prior to the finalisation of the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale route, meetings between Bangalow residents and the (then) Roads and Traffic Authority thrashed out a compromise whereby traffic heading to and from the south would have direct access to the town but traffic heading to and from the north would continue to access Bangalow via the old (existing) Pacific Highway from Ewingsdale.

Mr Hart said yesterday that had included a commitment not to include signs at Ewingsdale that would encourage motorists heading to Lismore to take the old route.

Vehicles travelling to Lismore to were to be encouraged to access it via the Ballina and Alstonville bypasses and the Bruxner Highway.

Mr Hart said that, after years of negotiation, ‘we were suddenly told that Lismore Council had requested a sign for Lismore and that was added into the final proposal and there was not any chance to discuss it’.

He added that Lismore Council had not been involved in any of the community discussions.

But a spokesperson for Lismore City Council told Echonetdaily that if the existing Lismore–Bangalow Road were not included in official direction signs there was a very real possibility it would be deleted as a state-classified road, with the cost of repairs and maintenance thrown back onto Lismore and Byron councils.

‘Lismore City Council requested that Bangalow Road remain signposted. They are secondary signs but it is a state-classified road to Lismore and needs to be signposted as such,’ said Lismore’s executive director of infrastructure services, Garry Hemsworth.

‘We believe the initial decision not to signpost Bangalow Road was part of a push by the RMS to have Bangalow Road downgraded from a state road and shift the cost to Council,’ he added.

Mr Hemsworth said a secondary issue was that people wanting to get to Clunes or Bexhill may be confused if there were no signage to Lismore on Bangalow Road.

‘We already have major capacity issues with the Bruxner Highway at Goonellabah and further diversion of traffic from Bangalow Road onto Ballina Road will only increase congestion,’ he said.

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  1. Bangalow residents have been really shafted by the RMS again.
    The original township limited access proposal for which a petition was presented to State Parliament by Don Page was ignored by the working committee which was dominated by The Bangalow Chamber of Commerce ( we want more people in town for more business ). I think only one of the committee lived in Bangalow township and he probably signed off on it because they agreed not to do major signposting to Lismore from the highway.
    The RMS then incorporated their wish list into the final plan and now have included the signage.
    So much for ” trunk road 65 will no longer be the preferred route to Lismore from Pacific Highway “.
    It makes a mockery of their pretence of cooperating with local residents and I am not surprised they are not having one of their regular update and feedback meetings about it.
    As a driver who travels on Lismore Road a lot I believe the speed limit should be dropped to 80. It is so dangerous and most problems are caused by speed and not driving to conditions which on this road can be treacherous.
    With a maximum speed limit of 100KPH and sensible drivers sticking to 80KPH there are always idiots trying to dangerously overtake. I have personally saved 3 head on collisions by unsafe hard braking to allow an overtaking vehicle to squeeze in.
    The reduced speed limit would also make it less desirable to trucks.
    You really can’t trust what the RMS says and it makes me wonder what plans they have lurking for Trunk Road 65 which was listed a few years ago by the NRMA as one the 10 worst roads in NSW.

  2. What about signs at Ewingsdale saying Lismore via Bangalow for light vehicles only and directing heavy traffic to the Bruxner?

  3. The Bangalow Progress Association fell into bed with the RMS over the T2E, and I suspect the cracks are starting to show. And I think there’s worse to come. Which is why we moved away.

  4. Very relevant article here which should be bought to the attention of The RMS.There are currently road works (widening?) occurring at Binna Burra on the Lismore Road which makes me wonder if they actually plan to upgrade the road. Granuaille Road residents watch out!


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