The nightmarish traffic congestion in and around Byron Bay this week is being caused by a combination of factors including construction of the Byron Bypass, schoolies week, and the filming of a new mini-series, Byron Council said.
‘What we’re unfortunately experiencing this week is a whole range of works and events occurring at the same time and causing a scale of traffic issues we have not seen before in Byron Bay,” Council’s Director Infrastructure Services, Phil Holloway said in a statement.
‘At the Shirley St / Butler St roundabout area, Council is doing critical asphalt sealing works as part of the Byron Bay Bypass which cannot be delayed due to expected rain this week,’ he said.
‘These works are a significant cause of congestion but are only scheduled for this week.’
‘Normally this would be a reasonable inconvenience but it has become a significant issue due to Schoolies and people avoiding Bangalow Road.’
The delays and congestion on Bangalow Road are caused by the filming of Nine Perfect Strangers.
Some cars trying to access Byron via Bangalow Rd have been turning around and using Ewingsdale Rd which adds to the traffic volume there.
‘Council has a limited ability to refuse filming as we are bound by the Local Government Filming Protocol to provide approvals to enable this industry to operate,’ Mr Holloway said.
The road closures for the mini-series were supported by the Local Traffic Committee which comprises Transport for NSW, Police, the Member for Ballina Tamara Smith and Councillor Basil Cameron.
The NSW Government has also made film-making a priority in this state and this is what attracted a mini-series of this scale (Nine Perfect Strangers) to the Byron Shire. The budget for the mini-series is reported to be around $100m million.
The film company is required to conduct its own consultation with residents and businesses impacted directly by the road closures.
‘People are asking us how much money we got from our involvement in closing the roads for this film and the answer is that the same nominal fees apply to anyone requesting a road closure whether it’s to shoot a film or run a sporting event,’ Mr Holloway said.