Ballina draws to a standstill

BRING on the Ballina bypass.

That’s the word on the street this week, after Christmas/New Year traffic caused days of major delays on the north and south-bound lanes of the Pacific Highway into Ballina.

Many motorists are looking forward to the end of 2012, when the bypass is scheduled for completion.

But the sight of bumper-to-bumper cars driving in and out of Ballina is not unusual.

During school holidays the town becomes gridlocked as travellers struggle to reach their destinations.

This week’s traffic has been particularly bad, with several accidents slowing the pace even more.

A single-car accident on Tuesday saw cars at a standstill about 5km south of the intersection of the Pacific and Bruxner highways.

Traffic crawled into Ballina well below the 80km/h and 60km/h speed limits.

Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader said she had noticed the traffic was particularly bad this year.

“The bypass can’t come quick enough,” she said.

“I have been talking to people about it and everyone’s just looking forward to having the bypass finally finished.

“We really notice how badly we need it during our peak times, like now.

“Unfortunately, at the moment, there isn’t much we can do about the traffic situation.

“This is something that happens every school holidays in Ballina.”

However, Cr Cadwallader said it was good to see work on the bypass progressing rapidly.

The $640 million project will create 11.4km of dual carriageway and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2012.

Over the next month, the Ballina Bypass Alliance will:

  • Continue with bulk earthworks between Ross Lane and the Bruxner Highway;
  • Start installation of the concrete batch plant;
  • Complete placement of fill for the Bruxner Highway alignment and most of the soft soil works; and
  • Start landscaping works.

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