An aerial photo of work on the Ballina bypass, at the Cumbalum to Sandy Flat section in December last year.
An aerial photo of work on the Ballina bypass, at the Cumbalum to Sandy Flat section in December last year. RTA

CBD shoppers the real winners

THE roar of trucks will no longer disturb shoppers in Ballina's CBD thanks to the opening of stage two of the $640 million Ballina bypass.

"Ballina people avoided Kerr St because they were frightened of the trucks, so hopefully now they will come back," said Julieanne Skinner of Ballina Accent Lighting.

Ms Skinner said she hoped the bypass would boost her business.

"Usually it's very noisy so I have to shut the door, which I hate doing because it deters customers, so it will be wonderful to get the trucks out of Ballina," she said.

However there are fears the bypass could reduce sales for businesses reliant on traffic, such as service stations and motels.

Glenn Costello of the Ballina Chamber of Commerce said he thought the long-term benefits would outweigh those potential costs.

"We need to let go of the highway and look at this as a positive," he said.

"It will allow the tourist community to make Ballina their destination and they can now visit the town without traffic hassle."

Ralph Matthews of the Comfort Inn All Seasons said the bypass was an opportunity to re-brand Ballina as a vibrant seaside community.

"I think some of the smaller motels who rely on passing traffic are a bit concerned," he said.

"They will probably start to think about how they can attract people into the town, but I think other towns who have been bypassed have found it to be a positive thing."

Drivers at Ballina Transport said they expected the bypass would improve their working conditions.

The company has four trucks on the road, including a B-double, delivering beer to pubs and bottle-shops across the North Coast.

Ballina Transport office manager Rachelle McLennan said the bypass would limit fuel costs as well as stress on drivers.

"In the peak season it will be a lot better for our local truck drivers who had to fight traffic coming into Ballina," she said.

She laughed when asked if the bypass would hasten beer deliveries to North Coast publicans.

"At Christmas Ballina did become a gridlock so yes, they probably get their beer a bit quicker this Christmas," she said.



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