Repair work on the boardwalk on Lighthouse Rd, Byron Bay is complete, with both lanes now open to traffic.
Repair work on the boardwalk on Lighthouse Rd, Byron Bay is complete, with both lanes now open to traffic. Cathy Adams

It's an open road with no fanfare

BYRON Shire commuters are relieved Lighthouse Rd is fully operational, but they're also questioning why no formal celebration was held to mark the completion of the long-awaited project.

When Ballina Shire Council re-opened the Coast Road in Lennox Head a month ahead of schedule in December 2011, Mayor Philip Silver posed for photos with the construction workers involved.

But little fanfare greeted the opening of both lanes on Lighthouse Rd on Friday when the project was finally completed after a six-and-a-half year wait.

Locals have suggested Byron Shire Council may have wanted to avoid getting Bronx cheers from commuters and tourism operators frustrated with the delays in fixing traffic problems in the town.

But a council spokesman said the shire's focus was on opening the road, not holding parties.

"We didn't worry about holding an official opening because we thought the view from Lighthouse Rd minus the roadwork would speak for itself," the spokesperson said.

"We preferred to just let motorists access the improved road. This was a complex job that required a lot of patience on behalf of the community, and we thank them for that."

The spokesperson said ratepayers would understand the decision.

"Rather than keep it closed for a second longer while we engaged in self-congratulation, we just wanted people to be able to start using it," the spokesperson said.

The manager of Seaview House Luxury Accommodation on Lighthouse Rd, Dion Pfisterer, said he's just happy the construction is over.

"No one complained but we were always aware of it because it was pretty noisy from 7am," Mr Pfisterer said.

While he won't be popping a champagne cork, Mr Pfisterer said he is pleased a key part of Byron Bay's tourist infrastructure is working again.

"We're not celebrating officially but we're definitely pleased it's open," Mr Pfisterer said.

"It's much more peaceful, the traffic is flowing and the new boardwalk and the lookout are great as well. It enhances the whole area."



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