Traffic grinds to a halt
By WILL JACKSON
Irate Alstonville residents blockade main street in protest over bypass
IF THERE'S anyone who knows how badly the residents of Alstonville want their bypass, it's Jamie Flynn.
The tiling contractor from Lismore was caught up in a passionate protest yesterday morning as local residents blockaded the Bruxner Highway for 20 minutes in pro- test against delays on the new road.
After a 41-year wait for the new road to be built around their town, there was no way the protesters were going to let Jamie get to work on time.
Instead, he was forced to back off and take a detour through a nearby laneway.
About 160 men, women and children walked back and forth across the pedes- trian crossing waving placards and backing up traffic for several kilometres.
While Jamie was more than a little miffed at being halted in his tracks, most of the motorists caught along the stretch of road seemed sympathetic, tooting their horns in support.
Neil Chesworth, a member of the bypass committee, said it was a reluctant protest.
"We've never actually stopped traffic for half an hour before," he said.
"But this is what happens every time there's a car ac- cident or pedestrian accident here.
"I don't understand how a government could knowingly postpone a project like this that's been planned for over 40 years."
Ballina Shire councillor David Wright said about 25,000 cars a day drive down the main street, and B-double trucks couldn't negotiate the corners at either end without crossing to the other side of the road.
"We don't want to stop people going to work, but what else can we do? We need this bypass," he said.