Workers put the finishing touches to the Alstonville bypass before today's official opening.
Workers put the finishing touches to the Alstonville bypass before today's official opening. Jay Cronan

Through traffic to use new bypass

IT’S the moment the residents of Alstonville and Wollongbar have been waiting for.

This morning, at 10am, Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese will officially open the $90 million Alstonville bypass.

It comes after a 40-year battle for the road and months of delays because of rain.

Mr Albanese will be joined at today’s opening by Page MP Janelle Saffin and dedicated members of the Alstonville Bypass Action Group.

“The biggest plus, finally, is the road will be open to traffic,” action group member Bob Wilson said.

“I don’t think people have actually realised yet the benefits this will have on Alstonville and Wollongbar.

“We’ve been saying for a while now that the bypass will take 50% of the vehicles out of the villages, but it could be even more than that.

“For a while, in particular, I think the bypass will have a lot of novelty value.

“People will travel on the bypass just for the sake of travelling on it.”

Alstonville-Wollongbar Chamber of Commerce president Les Wiles agreed that it would be a big day for the Alstonville Plateau.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

“It will be great to see the ribbon finally cut and by the time Monday comes around, we will have a very different main street.

“We will still have traffic, of course, but it will be traffic that wants to be there.

“The rest of the vehicles will be able to get between Lismore and Ballina a lot quicker.”

Mr Wiles said businesses in Alstonville and Wollongbar were not feeling nervous about the expected decrease in through traffic.

“It will be different, but better,” he said.

“I think businesses are feeling confident that it is going to be a really good thing for the town.

“It’s a challenging time for business at the moment, but there is a buzz. We’re excited.

“And, from a chamber point of view, we also think the bypass will be really good for the (Russellton) industrial estate.

“People will be able to see it from the new bypass and that could help to bring more businesses to that area.”

A community fun day was held earlier this month in celebration of the bypass.



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