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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Rail corridor to be considered for Byron Bay bypass

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Byron Bay's rail corridor is being considered as a possible site for the town's bypass. Photo Flickr
Byron Bay’s rail corridor is being considered as a possible site for the town’s bypass. Photo Flickr

Butler Street residents have been calling for it for months – and now it appears Byron Shire Council has heeded their call.

As part of the assessment process for the Byron bypass announced recently, the disused railway corridor will be included as a possible route.

It’s the alternative route they have been pushing for, as the group claim it is the ‘ideal’ location for a bypass, rather than their sleepy suburban street.

A spokesperson for Council said, ‘The railway corridor has already been considered within the Preferred Route Report (completed at the end of 2014), and will be included as part of the Environment Impact Study (EIS) as per the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs).

It brings into question Cr Sol Ibrahim’s comments at the council meeting last week that the bypass route would run up Butler Street, so the ‘two lanes in’ plan would not affect any future planning.

With Council moving to the next stage of the project, community ‘drop in’ sessions will be held on tow days in March at the Byron Bay Farmer’s Markets and Byron Community Centre.

On consecutive Thursdays, March 19 and 26, staff will be available to discuss the plans from 7am to 11am at the Byron Bay Farmer’s Markets, and then from 4pm to 7pm at the Byron Community Centre.

For more, visit www.byron.nsw.gov.au/projects/byron-bay-bypass.


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  1. That’s what all this rot about “rail trail-Bike Path” is all about, break up the infrastructure that could provide essential service to the Northern Rivers public, and hand it over to developers and private ‘entrepreneurs’. This then ensures profits for heavy transport and the taxi industry while eliminating any prospect of competition at any later date.
    Well done,…….. G”)

  2. At last sanity prevails and very much calls in to question the motives of Councillor Sol Ibrahim and his mate Chris Cubis.

  3. Whether the rail corridor is used for the bypass or not, a quick look at the Preferred Route Report on Council’s website will reveal that the traffic will still have to navigate the Butler St Roundabout. Page 29 shows that even if the rail corridor is used, traffic will veer left into the corridor about 100 meters after turning right at the roundabout. Five other route options are also considered in the report. These divert traffic at Kendall St or Milton St, and therefore would not require a right turn at Butler St roundabout. These have been rejected as route options for a range of compelling reasons. I am happy to answer any more questions on this matter through my Councillor email which can be found at http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au.

  4. byron bay is not newcastle which should be upset about losing a public transport option. There ain’t never going to be a train come through on that line ever again. Use it as a bypass to relieve traffic for the town and get on with your life. A bike trail would be a good use of the old rail line as well and could give the people of byron bay an alternative mode of transport and provide a fitness activity for the towns folk

  5. But what if we put the trains back on the tracks, visitors and locals could travel to Byron on trains and the traffic congestion problems would be alleviated. Or we remove the rails, make them into a road, lose the train option for ever. Then in 10 years have to expand the road, anyway and the residents of Butler St are still disturbed by traffic congestion. Then eventually see the error of our ways and return the train service and have to reclaim and buy back the railway corridors. Wouldn’t it be cheaper, easier and smarter to just return the trains?

    • The train line runs thru an erosion zone on the north side of Shirley St.I doubt very much that any government in power would put a multi million dollar train line thru that part of the corridor.
      Dissecting towns is not best practice ,look at the Jetty area in Coffs Harbour or the harbour area at Newcastle.Either put the train line underground (not feasible) ,overhead (ugly) or divert the line like they did at Eumundi.

  6. The rail corridor in Byron Bay is wide enough to accommodate both a bypass road and rail line reserve quite the contrary to what our Council and Don Page have declare all along. But a proper bypass solution includes the Byron Street link to Kendal Street and the extension south to Old Bangalow Rd. These extensions were identified in the 2001 EIS. Also identified in several traffic studies is the requirement to widen Shirley Street to as much as 2 lanes each way if the Byron Street Link is not constructed. Is this the scenario Sol Ibrahim is suggesting for our heritage entry avenue to Byron Bay i.e. turn Shirley Street into a complete Gold Coast scale traffic jam? Go to where the answers are – http://www.byrontrafficfix.org

  7. No Paul, I have never suggested anything like this. The proposal that was approved was two lanes inbound only. Less than 50 meters before the Butler St roundabout will be created without widening the road itself. The roundabout can already accommodate two lanes. After the roundabout, about 20 meters will be widened to just past the rail crossing, where the road goes to two lanes already.

    If the bottleneck across the disused rail tracks is a heritage entry, why is it OK to build a new two lane major road on the green rail reserve which could be turned into parkland, a market site, public art space, and a safe, natural thoroughfare for locals? As for the other possible routes via Kendall and Byron Street etc, these have numerous constraints, and add $millions to the cost (which we do not have). They have been considered and/or will be further considered in preparation for the final approval for the Bypass.

    The fact remains that the rail corridor does not belong to Council or Roads. Our advice from the owners of that land is that they do not want to compromise its use for future rail infrastructure. A return of trains will most certainly be on two adjacent tracks, not one. A major station such as Byron Bay will likely require additional space to shunt carriages, and for trains to bypass the station. We cannot predict what will be required in 50+ years. The Bypass will carry large delivery trucks and coaches. It will have to have wide footpaths and road reserves given the volume of people walking in this area. What we need are unequivocal assurances from the relevant Ministers that they will facilitate the necessary enacting legislation to use the corridor, and will fund the Bypass within the Rail corridor.

  8. Sol your widening of Shirley Street is the thin edge of the wedge, as mentioned the Vetch Lister traffic studies undertaken by West Byron for Byron Shire Council clearly show the need for dual lanes on Shirley St both in and out of town by 2028 with no alternative route. In the mean time how do you account for the impacts on adjacent properties with no parking or drop off provisions and difficulty in accessing driveways?

    And how can you compare the disused derelict rail corridor often overgrown littered and host for vagrants with the Norfolk Pine avenue entry to Byron Bay which is the signal for arrival for so many of us for so many years? The rail corridor is a transport reserve and a a multi modal bypass within that reserve is entirely consistent with it’s essential role and of course done well this route should also be a parkway, landscaped including pedestrian links and public art.

    Our advice from both Transport NSW and John Holland is that both authorities would welcome a request for repurposing the surplus rail land for a multi modal transport route. What is required is political will and vision for this critical infrastructure. The Byron Street link is essential, do not accept second best, this town is amongst the most preeminent tourism destinations and environmental jewels in Australia, join with us to protect and enhance our town – http://www.byrontrafficfix.org

  9. Let’s give every man on Earth a car – consider this, from our current PM – “Even the humblest man is a king in his car”, I would add even a moron in a plastic car, is still a moron in plastic car.” GET A LIFE, put a train on the tracks, as per intelligent people who come to Byron, and clog up the roads, and the brainless, crawl back under your logs…

  10. The humblest man having a car, could be true; but what the humblest man really needs is a Job! Railways create jobs and they have a knack of getting people efficiently to their destination, without considerable pollution, relaxed and ready to do business or to holiday; it is an age-old reality from the age of steam circa 1835 – 1914. The everyman having a car routine was dreamed up by the selfish and lazy, who like to pull out their armchair projectiles to meander endlessly to destinations, they could have done without in the first place. Bring back rail!!! Everytime – and as for rail trails, they done us a great service – because those routes will be needed again, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in 50 years; but in 100 years they will be all converted back to public railways. Putting a carway on a railway is like putting tomato sauce on ice-cream!!


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