Heavy traffic in Byron Bay on Monday, November 23, 2020. The town has been busy as school-leavers prepare to celebrate an informal schoolies and other travellers have been flocking to the seaside town. Picture: Liana Boss
Heavy traffic in Byron Bay on Monday, November 23, 2020. The town has been busy as school-leavers prepare to celebrate an informal schoolies and other travellers have been flocking to the seaside town. Picture: Liana Boss

GRIDLOCK: Doctors, buses caught in ‘perfect storm’ chaos

THOSE who live or work in Byron Bay are no strangers to queuing traffic; it comes with the territory of being among the most sought-after tourist destinations.

But the town's road network has been under severe pressure this week.

St Helena Rd and Bangalow Rd are closed for filming projects, roadworks are ongoing at the Shirley St roundabout and visitors including schoolies have been thick on the ground.

Tiffany Power and her husband, Tim Hawkins, have run a medical practice on Shirley St for 20 years and so they're familiar with Byron traffic.

 

 

Heavy traffic on Ewingsdale Rd heading into Byron Bay on Monday, November 23. Picture: Liana Boss
Heavy traffic on Ewingsdale Rd heading into Byron Bay on Monday, November 23. Picture: Liana Boss

Ms Power said her husband had never been late for work due to traffic in all that time, until today.

Despite leaving an extra 40 minutes for his commute, he was still sitting in the car on Ewingsdale Rd 15 minutes after his first scheduled appointment was due to start today, Ms Power said.

The receptionist was about 100m in front of him while the practice's nurse was just turning off the highway with gridlock "beyond what the eye could see".

"We've got patients that are needing to be seen," she said.

Heavy traffic in Byron Bay on Monday, November 23, 2020. The town has been busy as school-leavers prepare to celebrate an informal schoolies and other travellers have been flocking to the seaside town. Picture: Liana Boss
Heavy traffic in Byron Bay on Monday, November 23, 2020. The town has been busy as school-leavers prepare to celebrate an informal schoolies and other travellers have been flocking to the seaside town. Picture: Liana Boss

Ms Power said the combination of roadworks - which the community had been informed about - and road closures was "just obscene and ridiculous".

"It's total mismanagement," she said.

She queried why the council's roadworks couldn't happen at night, especially amid an influx of schoolies and other visitors.

"It's bedlam, it really is," she said.

Blanch's Bus Company service delivery manager Andrew Crotty said their bus runs had been seriously impacted and the situation had been "very taxing logistically".

Mr Crotty estimated about 25 buses in the Byron Bay vicinity were affected.

Heavy traffic in Byron Bay on Monday, November 23, 2020. Picture: Liana Boss
Heavy traffic in Byron Bay on Monday, November 23, 2020. Picture: Liana Boss

The company has redirected some Ballina-based resources to assist but that still doesn't mean students have been getting to school, or home, on time.

While they were more prepared this morning, Mr Crotty said some buses were still arriving at school 30 minutes late.

He acknowledged the current roadworks "need to be done" but also suggested the council could operate its roadworks at night.

Resident Luke Jolly said the situation had been "a perfect storm".

He said insufficient notice was given about which roads would be closed, and when, due to filming activities.

"To approve some large commercial project like that, I think there has to be some engagement, further consultation," Mr Jolly said.

Byron Shire Council has been approached for comment.

 

 

 


 



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