Rash of roadwork frustrates drivers
By HELEN JACK
HILL STREET residents in East Ballina are weary of the noise, dust and vibrations as heavy road construction equipment and vehicles complete roadworks along the street.
Ballina Shire Council is widening the road with a mix of its own, State and Federal government funding to construct a retaining wall and a footpath on the south-east side of the road.
One Hill Street resident said she could see the benefits of the works, but living through the process was problematical.
"Putting up with the vibrations of the rollers is difficult, and they begin work at 7am, which often wakes up the kids," she said.
"The workers are great; their consideration for residents is very good. Giving us priority over traffic is helpful."
However, she and other residents are bewildered with the RTA's decision not to include an extra lane to allow residents to back out of their driveways safely and not into oncoming vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Amber Styles said she moved to Hill Street three months ago just as work began.
"I think it's great, especially with the new footpath. It will be a lot safer for pedestrians like me," she said
The signs of better times in long run By Alex Easton and Helen Jack
WE know we'll be happy to have them in the long run.
But the end of financial year road works rush is causing rising levels of annoyance and frustration for thousands of Northern Rivers residents and anger-producing delays for motorists.
If it seems that every road in the region has a roadworks sign up along it at some point, it's not your imagination.
Our roads are getting a massive cash injection as the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and councils work to finish projects before June 30.
Road crews are working through nearly 40 projects in the region, worth tens of millions of dollars for councils and the RTA in the Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Richmond Valley and Kyogle local government areas, ranging from minor repairs to building entire new roads.
And it is no coincidence that the rush is happening now. An RTA spokeswoman said the authority managed its roadworks schedules from one% financial year to the next, meaning any delays through the year brought about a last minute burst of activity.
Lismore City Council infrastructure services executive director Garry Hemsworth said road projects could be delayed by a variety of factors, with weather being one of the most obvious.
Other delaying factors included lengthy consultation processes, which could sometimes put a project back by months or other unforseen complications, like finding%unexpected environmental factors.
Mr Hemsworth said council road crews were often contracted to carry out RTA work, which could force the council to delay some of its own projects.
Ironically the biggest local RTA project, the $256 million Brunswick Heads to Yelgun Pacific Highway upgrade, does not feature in the rush.