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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Byron Council staff ignore government over bypass options

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The controversial Byron Bay Bypass route.
The controversial Byron Bay Bypass route.

Residents of Byron Bay’s Butler Street who would be affected by a town bypass say they are alarmed by Byron Shire Council’s detailed plans for the proposal, which was presented to the public at last week’s Farmers Market.

Despite advice from the NSW planning and environment department to consider alternatives, and specifically the rail corridor route, Council staff have rejected the idea, saying it was not possible.

The decision comes despite Council’s website claiming that its Environmental Impact Study Statement (IESS), ‘must assess potential impacts of [alternative routes, including land within the existing rail corridor] in the proposal.’

Council’s director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, told The Echo the draft bypass concept plans were based on the route identified within the Preferred Route Report (PRR) that was completed at the end of 2014.

‘A key factor in any feasibility assessment is land ownership. Council does not own the rail corridor land.’

Mr Holloway also reconfirmed that the proposed bypass will not solve all of Byron Bay’s traffic problems, with traffic studies showing ‘that up to 20 per cent of traffic will potentially use the new thoroughfare.’

‘However, this 20 per cent are most likely to be locals travelling from one side of town to the other.’

Additionally, Butler Street residents have pointed to a 2001 environmental impact study (EIS) which indicates such a route would only provide relief for ten years.

Good for ten years

The coalition government have announced $10.5m to help fund the project, which would also be constructed through wetlands and come out at the southern end of Jonson Street at Mitre Ten.

The Echo asked the planning department for comment on whether their advice to Council is binding but was instead referred to RMS.

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  1. Why are we building a traffic solution for the 20% (mainly locals) who want to bypass town to get to Suffolk Park, while ignoring the 80% of daytrippers who are destined for the CBD or beaches east of town?

    It doesn’t matter if Council builds a bypass down Butler St or the railway corridor (GTR), it doesn’t solve the main problem! While you still have 80% queuing to get through the Jonson & Lawson roundabout, everyone else has to sit in the same traffic jam until the police station when they can finally skip around town and save a few minutes.

    So, you still sit in traffic on Ewingsdale Rd for half-an-hour but you save 3 minutes by avoiding Jonson St. Brilliant! And this cost us $10 million.

    Its time for an integrated solution that provides parking for daytrippers west of the railway line and allows traffic headed to the beaches or Suffolk to get around town quickly.

  2. Having experienced the traffic jam over the years, it seems to be a result of pedestrian cross traffic at Lawson street west, so a bypass so close to the problem area, would merely result in a second road heading south, accommodating the 20% and 1 in 5 vehicles will not significantly impact on reducing the crawl….although better than nothing for $10m
    If land was available further west, to start bypass, Belongil (Caltex garage ) or Bayshore Drive (bp garage)…incorporating roundabouts at these spots, would be the ultimate fix.

    • But Michael, even if the bypass started back at the sports centre or Ewingsdale, it still only caters for the 20% of traffic (mainly locals) who want to get down to Suffolk. It does nothing to solve the horrendous traffic jam created by the 80% (mainly tourists) heading to the CBD, beaches and lighthouse.

      Why are we fixing the problem for the 20% before fixing the problem for the 80%?

      The only way to solve that problem is to provide convenient parking for day-trippers west of the railway line, and allow beach-bound traffic to get around town or through town as quickly as possible. At the moment, daytrippers forced into the Jonson & Lawson bottleneck, and then start circulating around town looking for a parking spot. The entry points for major carparks on the western side of town (Lawson St North and Lawson St South) are very difficult to find.


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