Ballina's big bypass celebration
BALLINA residents, businesses and emergency services crew were out in force yesterday to celebrate the completion of stage two of the $640million Ballina bypass which will be open to traffic tomorrow.
A family fun day was hosted yesterday on the section of highway between the Teven Rd interchange and Cumbalum with food and craft stalls, helicopter joyflights, rides for the kids and information stalls from the region's raft of emergency services.
"It's absolutely fantastic that it's opening," Ballina SES volunteer, Phil Mackenzie, said.
"It's been a long time coming," he said.
"But this will impact on traffic and congestion, particularly trucks and caravans coming through the town, and hopefully our access in emergencies will improve.
"It will improve safety, and you can't put a price on that."
Also hopeful of a dramatic drop in trucks through the town once the bypass opens was Ballina mother, Niki Watkins who brought her children Brianna, 7, and Dylan, 4, to the family fun day.
"I'll be excited to not have so many trucks through town," she said.
"Hopefully it will make the town quieter and safer.
"It gets really aggressive near Hungry Jacks there. It will be great if that slows down."
Business will also benefit said Georgie Latimer from Air T&G which offered helicopter joy flights yesterday.
"Northbound and southbound travelling on the highway will be quicker now, but in summer the traffic through Ballina will be less, which will be great for the town," Ms Latimer said.
"Then we can really start to market Ballina as a destination."
Ballina MP, Don Page said the bypass created 3,880 jobs.