There are plenty of road issues n Byron Shire and many of them revolve around the increase in the numbers of locals and tourists that are using them. Today the state government has announced they are providing an extra $2.2m to assist the Byron Shire to upgrade some of their dirt roads into sealed roads. But the real question is, is this dealing with the real problem of numbers or is it just making the problem worse?
The announcement has identified sections of Grays Lane, Broken Head Road, and Minyon Falls Road that will be sealed.
‘Sealing these roads is a win-win for residents – making them much safer to drive on and protecting the local environment at the same time,’ The Hon. Ben Franklin MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and the Arts, said.
Grays Lane will now be sealed to the boundary of the Tyagarah Nature Reserve and raised to reduce flooding. A 700m section of Seven Mile Beach Road at Broken Head will also be sealed from the Broken Head Reserve Road intersection to the Kings Beach carpark.
According to the press release ‘Byron Shire attracted 2.4 million visitors last year, a record number, and many of them liked to explore the more remote beaches in the region with up to 1,150 cars a day travelling on Seven Mile Beach Road and 600 a day using Grays Lane.’
Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said the state of the roads is poor and they were not built to withstand large volumes of traffic.
‘The dust generated by traffic travelling on these dirt roads in dry weather coats nearby vegetation and is a hazard for wildlife as well as people walking, driving or living on the road, and wet weather creates potholes and flooding hazards, especially on Grays Lane,’ Mayor Richardson said.
‘This money from the NSW Government will allow us to do major work on the roads including sealing and drainage which will make them safer, improve access for residents and reduce run-off into the national parks which is a good thing for the precious environment,’ Mayor Richardson said.
Danger to users
Parking is often limited in these areas such as Grays Lane and Kings Beach carpark and this leads to people parking along the roads and in environmentally sensitive areas.
Residents and the broader community are raising concerns that sealing a few sections of road is not dealing with the real issues that are facing these communities. They say that the volume of traffic is creating a dangerous scenarios including the increased risk of people being hit by cars.
‘We need to find a way of managing the traffic on theses roads,’ said Alison Drover who lives in Broken Head.
‘If anything this is going to make the road more official and increase the amount of traffic on the road and increase the danger to everyone.’