Motorists approaching the Bayshore Drive roundabout on Ewingsdale Road could be forgiven for rubbing their eyes in mild disbelief today.
No, it’s not some sort of cruel mirage – the roundabout it finally finished. Well, nearly.
After eight months of construction that has at times left locals grinding their teeth in gridlocked frustration, the $5.6m island is open in all three directions.
All that remains are the finishing touches to the 12-metre-high lighthouse sculpture that stands proudly (and, let’s face it, somewhat phallically) at the centre of the road.
‘We are so pleased to be opening the new roundabout before Christmas despite the rain during October and the disruptions this caused,’ Council’s Director of Infrastructure Services, Phil Holloway said.
‘There will be some minor works for the contractor to complete in coming weeks and they will be removing their equipment at the completion of the job – but this will not impact on roundabout traffic.
‘Council is mindful of holiday traffic and wanted to get the roundabout opened to reduce congestion.’
Much to the relief of those who work or regularly visit the Arts and Industrial Estate, access to the rapidly-growing precinct is now unobstructed – no more painful 15-minute waits on Banksia Drive to get back onto Ewingsdale Road at knock-off time.
‘I would like to thank business owners and residents in the industrial and Sunrise estates for their patience during the construction of the second half of the roundabout and throughout the project,’ Mr Holloway said.
A council spokesperson said the 12-metre sculpture, which depicts a silhouette of the lighthouse through thousands of stainless steel birds, was expected to be completed by the end of the week.
The artist, Corey Thomas, was working on the piece until the early hours of Thursday morning.
In a final twist, this work forced traffic to be stopped in both directions at various stages during the night.
The roundabout was jointly funded by the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and Byron Shire Council.