Byron bypass back on agenda
By RACHEL AFFLICK
THE Byron Bay bypass might finally be getting closer to being funded.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, has agreed to visit the proposed bypass site this week.
For years the issue of a CBD bypass has been discussed as a way of easing traffic congestion in Byron Bay.
State Ballina MP Don Page yesterday said he was determined to get the long-awaited Byron Bay bypass off the ground.
Step one will involve asking the Federal Government for $5 million to fund the project an opportunity Mr Page will get when he and Federal Nationals candidate Sue Page meet with Mr Vaile in Byron Bay on Thursday.
The route, which was picked out years ago after a study asking for options to solve the local traffic problem, would bypass the CBD down Butler Street, out onto the southern end of town near Mitre 10.
In rating his chances of securing Federal Government support for the project, Mr Page said: "They have been fairly responsive in the past."
He said something needed to be done to ease the traffic congestion in Byron Bay's CBD and sooner rather than later. "The community wants this, and they want it now." However, even if the Federal Government does agree to fund the bypass, there's a catch.
The State Government would have to approve a second crossing of the railway line, where the road would cut through it.
Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham said the council has had a development application to go ahead with the bypass for nearly five years, but so far there has been no approval for the crossing. "The State has to give approval, or there's nowhere to go with it," she said.
Byron United board member John Gudgeon said the bypass should be a top priority for the community. "There's been something like 15 studies done saying if the bypass isn't built Byron will be gridlocked," he said.