Arthur Bateman, Chairperson of the Ballina Headlands Leisure Park Residents Committee, and Brian Smith, President of the Lennox Head Residents Association, pictured at Skennars Head.
Arthur Bateman, Chairperson of the Ballina Headlands Leisure Park Residents Committee, and Brian Smith, President of the Lennox Head Residents Association, pictured at Skennars Head. Cathy Adams

Close call 'fix' is still long way off

SKENNARS Head's Arthur Bateman is sick of close calls.

He said he often saw motorists slam on their brakes to narrowly avoid accidents at the intersection of Skenners Head Road and The Coast Road.

So it's no wonder he is excited about a recommendation to install a roundabout at the site, as well as at Headlands Drive.

Instead of vehicles queuing for hundreds of metres, waiting to merge on to the busy Coast Road, Mr Bateman said the roundabouts would ease traffic congestion and help prevent further accidents.

"You often have to wait so long to get out of the intersection, it's frustrating," Mr Bateman said.

"This is very good news for all residents, as it will definitely help ease the congestion and save a lot of people from accidents."

A recent traffic report by consultants Cardno Eppell Olsen includes a recommendation to install the roundabouts by 2016.

The report, presented to Ballina Shire Council's traffic advisory committee this week, states the roundabouts are needed for the intersections to cope with the increasing amount of traffic past 2026.

It also recommends the roundabout, connecting The Coast Road, Ballina Street, Byron Bay Road and North Creek Road, needs an extra lane from North Creek Road by 2016.

The council's civil services group manager John Truman said the report would guide future planning and provide key input into rezoning and development considerations in the area.

He said the council was aware of residents' concerns about the intersections and that the report was aimed at looking at options to improve the performance of the sites.

Ballina Headlands Leisure Park manager Suzanne Vagne said the Skennars Head Road intersection, which was used frequently by residents and visitors to the park, was a nightmare.

"It's a very difficult intersection, and you have to be quick-witted to get out of it in peak traffic times," she said.

"As far as caravans being able to access and merge on to The Coast Road from our park, the roundabout would certainly make it a whole lot easier.

"Of course they'd have to reduce the speed limit to slow traffic down as they come up to the roundabouts, but it would be a lot safer."

But councillor Alan Rich, who has been pushing for safety improvements at the intersections, said he was concerned the roundabouts would hinder traffic flow, and that it would be difficult for vehicles to stop at the roundabouts after coming down the 'steep hill' of The Coast Road towards the intersections.

Lennox Head resident Brian Smith said the roundabouts 'have got to happen' and that slowing traffic down on The Coast Road would make it safer.

The report is available on the council's website, but it is not intended for public comment.


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