Byron Bay Bypass now scheduled to open in February 2021 and Council has listed COVID-19, protests and allegations of a breach of the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act as some of the reasons they cannot deliver the controversial road on time.
Council says that the Byron Bay bypass project, despite substantial challenges, is progressing well towards completion and will be opened for traffic by the end of February 2021.
A construction shutdown is scheduled over Christmas, and there will be no disruption to traffic as a result of the project during the holiday period.
Director of Infrastructure Services Phil Holloway said this will be our last Christmas and New Year period without the Byron Bypass. ‘Council looks forward to opening the project in full before the end of summer.
‘The project has been in the planning for over 30 years, and there isn’t long to wait now before we can all experience it.’
A long list of why it isn’t their fault
Council said that while work has been progressing well in recent months a series of events have held up some aspects of the project. These include: Protests at the start of the project in July 2019; A referral to the Federal Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE) after allegations that activities planned for Stage 2 of the project were in breach of the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act; A number of unknown site conditions during construction such as old sewer mains, contaminated soils, poorer than expected ground conditions throughout parts of the project, and heritage footings that were uncovered and referred to Heritage NSW; The Queensland COVID-19 border closure had an impact on the availability of sub-contractors for construction projects in northern NSW; One of the development consent conditions for the Bypass project is that noise abatement works are completed in full, prior to the opening of the new road.
Council says that while the majority of the work will be completed before Christmas, Council is not permitted by law to open the Bypass in full, until these works are complete.
‘We look forward to the many benefits this major infrastructure project will bring, including giving an option to keep cars outside of Jonson Street, improved connectivity between the North and South of Byron Bay as well as several kilometres of new shared path facilities,’ said Mr Holloway.
‘It must be acknowledged that Byron’s traffic woes are complex in nature, and the goal of the Bypass project has never been to provide a silver bullet to alleviate traffic congestion on Ewingsdale Road.
‘In addition to our most recent roundabout upgrades at Sunrise Boulevard and Bayshore Drive, Transport for NSW is commencing a new signalization project at the Ewingsdale interchange. The work is due to start before the end of the year. The goal of this work is to stop traffic cueing on the M1 and improve safety at the interchange.’