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Byron Shire
September 18, 2021

Main Arm causeway opening causes grief for some

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The new Blindmouth Creek causeway at Main Arm has no provision for cyclists or pedestrians. Photo Aslan Shand

Byron Shire Council last week trumpeted the opening of the new Blindmouth Causeway on Main Arm Road with great fanfare.

And the $1.48 million construction is doubtless a significant improvement on the previous low-level creek crossing.

But local residents are questioning why no provision was made for cyclists and pedestrians.

And a former councillor says the Council should never have had to pick up any of the tab.

The project was funded with a $570,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Program with Byron Shire Council providing $664,000.

But former councillor, Duncan Dey, told Echonetdaily, ‘It was originally to be funded by the developers of the three residential estates it now serves’.

‘Once the developers got their side of the bargain, however, they reneged and the burden then fell on the public purse,’ he said.

Mr Dey added it was ‘inevitable that speed through [Main Arm] village would increase [as a result] and this very stock standard road upgrade ignores that factor’.

Pedestrians ignored

Main Arm Bikeway Group, which is advocating for a bike path from Mullumbimby to the Main Arm Village, applied for a community grant to attach a footpath and bike bridge to the new structure.

But the group’s submission for funding from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund was rejected.

A spokesperson told Echonetdaily, ‘Lots of local children who both walk and cycle to the Main Arm store use the bridge’ adding ‘it’s an opportunity missed to keep our kids safe’.

One in 10-year flood

But Council’s director of infrastructure, Phil Holloway, is upbeat about the project.

‘The days of residents being flooded in every time there’s prolonged rain have been greatly reduced, with the new concrete box culvert structure being two metres higher and designed to withstand a one in 10-year flood event,’ he said in a media statement.

‘The new dual lane road approaches are also a vast improvement on what the Main Arm community has lived with over the decades and provide greatly increased and welcomed road safety for around 900 vehicles that use the causeway each day,’ he added.

‘Council worked closely with the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries to ensure the new structure was fish-friendly.

‘We also worked closely with the Office of Environment and Heritage in the development of a vegetation management plan to offset the project footprint.

‘We are very pleased to be delivering this exciting major project on time and within the budget – it will be a terrific asset for the community for decades to come,” Mr Holloway said.

The Blindmouth Creek causeway from above. Photo Byron Shire Council


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Fish friendly; well fuck me! Yet no provision was made for cyclists or pedestrians. Yet another example of how moronic and incompetent our Council is!

    Sack ’em all. Now!

  2. How extraordinary that in 2019 a council which claims to be green and promoting active and sustainable transport can build a major piece of road infrastructure without provision for cycles or walkers.

  3. Duncan Dey is correct. originally the causeway upgrade was to be paid for by developers and they all reneged. So who had to foot the bill? Of course it should have a cycle/walk way and is it safer then the old causeway ? Not when people speed knowing they don’t have to stop for oncoming traffic. However grand the causeway may look it is still a causeway to nowhere in times of serious flooding. Can’t get passed Palmwoods. can’t get passed Sherry’s Bridge.

  4. Why not plan the structure 2 metres wider from scratch to provide for a cyclists / pedastrians path?
    How hard can it be?
    And this is supposed to be a green council. Shame on you!

  5. Well I can recall a meeeting with people from Main Arm and Council road engineers who conceded that Council will never ever raise the low section of Main Arm Road near Scott’s and Leeson’s properties that always floods dangerously in a reasonable flood. People have died there over the years.
    What was the point of raising the Blinmouth Creek causeway if all you can do is get a bit further down the road.
    A bridge to nowhere

  6. I tried to comment yesterday but it didn’t post.
    Yes Peter is correct it is the road to nowhere. At a meeting a few years ago with Council’s road engineers they admitted that Council will NEVER have the funds to raise the road near Sherry’s bridge near the Scott and Leeson properties. People have died there over the years. The raising of the causeway has in one sense made it safer but as it is two lanes now people will approach it at greater speeds making it possibly more dangerous.
    Longer term residents knew when Blindmouth Creek went over the village causeway that near Sherry’s Bridge was flooded and there was no point going any further. People who had come to grief on the old bridge were inevidibly new to the area or just plain stupid to try it.
    The developers … benefited greatly from the ratepayers covering the cost of [the bridge]. Traffic coming into the village needs some sort of traffic slowing device like several speed bumps. The extra population that the Davis subdivision on the south side of the village is only the start of the slow degeneration of the Main Arm valley that will acccelerate when the rezoned northern village land and CT’s get developed.
    I for one am glad I have left the valley after almost 40 years and didn’t have to watch it happen.
    It was such a beautiful place that is going to get trashed.
    Vale Judy

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