Bypass opening delayed
WET winter weather may have pushed back the opening of the Alstonville bypass until as late as February next year, it has been revealed.
Organisers of a community event to be held to celebrate the opening have been told by the Road Traffic Authority to push back the celebrations until ‘about February’.
Ballina Shire Councillor David Wright, who is on the organising committee, said it was a ‘bit of a shame’.
He said he had been told that the bypass might not open to traffic until the end of January or February.
But others in the community have been informed it could be as late as March.
“(The RTA) needs to wait for the road to dry, so it can do the temporary seal,” Cr Wright said.
“But it keeps raining. They just haven’t been able to do it.”
It had originally been estimated that the bypass would be finished by November, with the community celebration being planned for the same month.
However, the RTA would not confirm the November date, saying only it would be opened before the end of the year.
Alstonville resident Bob Wilson, who campaigned for the bypass for more than 20 years and is heavily involved in organising the opening celebrations, said there was nothing that could be done.
“It’s a bit of a blow for us,” he admitted.
“But we can’t change the weather. We understand – there’s been no movement on the bypass for this whole week.”
Cr Wright said the situation was ‘a bit of a pain’ because a lot of planning had already been done for the opening celebrations.
“We also don’t want to have the event at the end of January because we want to have the schools involved,” he said.
“This will also put back the upgrade of the other side of the Alstonville main street.”
The community event to celebrate the bypass will include a fun run or walk, a bike ride and markets.
Last night, the RTA confirmed that ongoing wet weather had led to the delay of the bypass.
“It is now expected to be completed and open to traffic early next year, weather permitting,” a spokesperson said.