Long lines of cars give further cause for bypass
By MARY MANN firstname.lastname@example.org THE sight of cars creeping bumper-to-bumper along the Pacific Highway over the Easter long weekend was a stark reminder for many of how desperately the Ballina bypass is needed.
Traffic was so congested cars were often slowed to a snail's pace through the town, and both north and south along the Pacific Highway for about 10km.
Congested Pacific Highway traffic is Ballina's annual present from the Easter Bunny complete with frustrated drivers beeping their horns but it's not just during the holidays that it's a nightmare for locals.
For people like Alan Brown, chairman of the Ballina Bypass Action Group, traffic in Ballina is getting more chaotic every day.
"It's blatantly obvious the traffic situation here is bad," Mr Brown said.
"The highway is congested, the roundabouts are getting knocked around and it's difficult to just cross the road.
"I'd implore the government to get on with the job, the quicker the better."
If all goes to plan, the sound of trucks roaring through Ballina should be no more than a noisy memory by mid-2012, when the State and Federal governments expect the $331 million bypass project to be completed.
However, a start date has not been announced, and Mr Brown has written to the Federal Government asking when it intends to get on with the job.
Once completed the Ballina bypass will deliver 12.4 kilometres of safer dual carriageway on the Pacific Highway.