Byron bypass poll sweetener
By ALEX EASTON
WORK on the Byron bypass will be under way by the end of this year if the Coalition wins this month's State election, Ballina MP Don Page says.
Mr Page yesterday said the Coalition had committed $3 million to building the bypass, which would upgrade and extend Butler Street to cross the train track and connect with Jonson Street near the Mitre 10 store.
That pledge was welcomed by bypass campaigner Tony Narracott, but earned a raised eyebrow from Byron mayor Jan Barham, who said she expected the bypass to cost three times the amount promised by Mr Page and that getting the second rail crossing needed for the new road would be difficult, especially given the Coalition's commitment to re-open the line.
"They might find, in Government, that the bureaucrats wouldn't allow both," she said.
Mr Page said a Coalition Government would not allow bureaucrats to stand in the way of the bypass and the project would go ahead with or without the council's support.
He also rejected Cr Barham's $9 million figure for the cost of the bypass, saying council quotes included land acquisitions from State Rail. He had not included that in the cost of the project because the Government already owned that land.
Mr Narracott welcomed the news, saying a bypass would be needed when work on a new backpackers/shopping complex behind the Great Northern Hotel began.
Mr Narracott said the lack of a bypass was causing congestion problems around the entrance to the town and causing headaches.