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Byron Shire
August 18, 2022

Perfect storm creates traffic nightmare in Byron Bay

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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.

Traffic congestion on Ewingsdale Road

‘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.

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    • The traffic congestion is created by the state government-not council- who spend millions promoting tourism but refuse to provide the public transport needed to cope with the numbers of people coming here. Ratepayers’ cannot afford to pay for public transport. Mullumbimby and Brunswick are also packed to the rafters thanks.

      There’s a perfectly good train line running parallel to that road which could take thousands/millions of cars off the road AND reduce emissions. There’s also a bike track alongside that road-so why aren’t people cycling instead of driving, as bike track enthusiasts tell us they would?

      The irony of those who have been campaigning for the state government to spend untold millions ripping up that valuable train line to replace it with a bike track, now complaining to the state government about traffic suffocating the town. Chickens coming home to roost. Priceless!

      • Byron has got to be a priority for getting the trains back on the tracks. All those bloody cars are a full on danger to themselves and each other and our planet. Byron is supposed to be super environmentally friendly. If I was a parent of a schoolies kid I’d worry myself sick about them driving up in this. I’d much rather send them up by train than through this mess.

        • If it had not been so expensive to run and to repair the rails, an XPT to Byron Bay would be very nice. But for reasons known only to them, local rail groups Toots and NRRAG campaigned for for a local commuter service, not a return of the XPT. That is history as parts of the line have been closed between Casino and Murwillumbah, as the Government focuses on more frequent better targeted local bus services.
          Fortunately it is much safer for kids who drive to Byron Bay because the Government did not give in to pressure from people like Lousie and delay completion of the Pacific Highway upgrade in order to spend a billion dollars on a train line for a few hundred people, and if parents are still concerned their kids can fly to Ballina – at least in normal times – for little or no more than a ticket on the train, and far less than the un-subsidised cost of the train..

      • Louise
        There is no evidence that the very light rail that the Byron Shire’s ARCADIS report found it was feasible for that rail line to carry – and it remains to be seen if even that is possible – would carry more than a small number of cars in and out of Byron Bay. The younger population along the rail corridor use the existing bus services less than the services on other major transport routes in our region. There were just two people on the Lismore Byron Bay commuter bus the other day; why would they choose to travel on a very light rail that travels at 40 – 60kph and passes even fewer employment health or other destinations? That’s why governments are more interested in fixing the roads than the rials, and are pushing ahead with improved bus services in LGAs like the Tweed that have a good transport plan focused on people, not rails.

    • Bali is off limits so Byron is the new Canggu… It’s a sh*tshow in town today. And it was only a Wednesday… I wonder what the weekend will bring…

  1. This ridiculous traffic congestion is due to one thing and one thing only
    Absolutely no forward thinking in the PLANNING ie a total lack of PLANNING
    Schoolies happens every year, the filming of the TV series is a poor excuse and the congestion resulting in traffic avoiding the ridiculous mess on Bangalow road….all in Byron Council Area were all foreseeable and should have been taken into consideration……….so disappointing

  2. What is happening is great!
    Because it shows us what happens when there is no plan to manage “Over tourism”.
    Businesses have taken precedent over BSC ratepayers for too long. Why do several thousand rate payers have to support two million tourists per annum?
    Please vote for a council / councillors, that recognise we have a huge problem and tables a plan to deal with an extreme situation that is only going to get worse with time.
    Mullumbimby & Brunswick Heads, you’re next!

    • This council has no respect for whatever locals are left or whatever community is left, as it is obvious with the development, traffic congestion and exploiting of byron bay, you only need to call council to hear how they pass their problems of byron bay onto one another. That’s their style – blaming kids for finishing there schooling for councils mismanagement – it’s a disgrace.

  3. The meat of the article is ‘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.

    One would think only fools would block a main access road into Byron Bay that has been over run with tourists for those employed and needing to live elsewhere, visitors and locals as well, for a movie shoot.

    There are roads all over the shire to use. Is this really what it’s come to that it’s perfectly fine to do this regardless of the harm? This sort of nonsense could lead to injury or fatalities on our roads. Who will take responsibility for this mayhem fostered on the community? These forces, obligations, protocols and committees making these decisions have stupid written all over them. Sorry guys, I think it’s a massive fail of our government.

  4. A major motive for the Byron bypass was not to relieve congestion in the CBD but to enable a more pedestrian friendly Jonson Street with potentially part of Jonson Street fully pedestrianised. The new roundabout at the police station looks to already be a poor design unlike the “Dong” roundabout at the industrial estate which has 2 lanes for those travelling away from town, one for Byron traffic, and one for Industrial Estate traffic.
    The nightmare at the police station is traffic coming out of town having to give way to traffic headed to Suffolk via the bypass, and also bypass traffic heading towards the Highway giving way to town traffic headed the same way. This roundabout needs 2 lanes around it as a minimum and will be a real bottle neck with everyone giving way to each other instead of having a lane for each line of traffic and then the lanes merging after leaving the roundabout as happens at the Dong roundabout and after the Ewingsdale roundabout when headed towards Byron.

  5. This should have been fixed 20years ago i moved here in the early 1980 as usual the bryon council is poor on planning and even worse on delivering fine examples the road collapse between the pass and captain cook lookout how long did that take to fix years under jan barnham also the traffic jams and grid lock now the lack of planning and infrustructure is appalling we need people in council to make decisions promptly. We have major events here and a mass of tourists in a small coastal town that was never made for this so what are we to do now every one wants to come to byron bay.

  6. As regards the Mini Series filming road closures, yet another money making scheme by a the select few smells of the corrupt over development, lack of care environmentally, illegal holiday letting that Byron is besieged by. Would it not have been considerate for a simple announcement on community radio, ABC north coast radio, our wonderful Echo,, or to the police, or traffic department to handle the situation prior to the incredible snarl of traffic. It was ok for me albeit a 45min journey normally 10mins, but what about those with children stuck in a hot confined space needing to get to school, missed medical and other appointments and the list is infinite, let alone the incredible loss to businesses on top of Cov-19. The lack of compassion over Greed sadly continues. Come on those responsible think outside the box

    • Hear hear Roger. Byron has become a shit place to live thanks to greed, stupid planning and a bunch of arrogant, self-absorbed celebrities who moved here for a ‘quiet life’ then are happy to exploit and advertise the place for their own personal gain.

      Don’t get me started on airbnb or the …… trashing our beaches and carparks like Broken Head. The place has become a magnet for [email protected]!ts. I hate to think what the traditional owners are feeling now after what the place has become. ‘Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out’ more like ‘Line Up, Get Ripped Off, Leave Pissed Off’.

  7. Typical Aussie planning where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing or vice versa. Byron Bay council should have advance notice on the movie shooting months or years ahead. The road works should had been done well ahead of the movie shooting and others bloody excuses.


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