The new Tintenbar to Ewingsdale Pacific Highway upgrade was officially opened by local MP Kevin Hogan, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay and Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss at the Byron Bay tunnels on the Pacific Motorway. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
The new Tintenbar to Ewingsdale Pacific Highway upgrade was officially opened by local MP Kevin Hogan, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay and Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss at the Byron Bay tunnels on the Pacific Motorway. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Expect traffic woes up to Easter from Ewingsdale roadworks

IF YOU thought the opening of the St Helena tunnel was the end of holiday season Pacific Hwy traffic woes, then think again.

The truth is, our eight-year, $852 million upgrade won't really be complete until Easter 2016.

That's because the diabolically complex Ewingsdale interchange, which gives both southbound and northbound motorists the chance to exit and enter, isn't scheduled for completion until then.

And that means traditional traffic jams around the southbound Byron Bay exit are likely to continue as Ewingsdale Rd logjams itself all the way back to the highway.

"Queued traffic and delays are expected over the Christmas holiday period," the latest Roads and Maritime Services project update warns.

"Variable message signs, reduced speed limits and traffic control will be in place to guide road users and the community through the new upgrade."

At present, there is still unfinished roadwork around Ross Lane at Knockrow, with 80km/h zones, and Ewingsdale, with an extensive 60km/h zone and single lanes in both directions.

There is an entire unfinished slab of road to complete which runs for an estimated 400m - the northbound dual lanes at Ewingsdale and exit to Byron Bay.

That means until some point in February or March of next year, it's also expected motorists that want to access Byron Bay from the south will need to get off at Bangalow and travel down the old Pacific Hwy - now called the Hinterland Way.

If drivers miss that exit, they will need to travel to Gulgan Rd at Tyagarah, do a u-turn and travel back to the southbound Byron exit, which is likely to be frequently backed up.

The contra-flow arrangement in place (single lanes in both direction) at Ewingsdale is likely to continue until the final completion date around Easter.



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