'It's a bit scary': How will the bypass affect Woodburn?

Woodburn's Burntwood Café & Pizza owner Alex Clark with staff Michael Jordan, Tracy Shaw and Kalan Perry.
Woodburn's Burntwood Café & Pizza owner Alex Clark with staff Michael Jordan, Tracy Shaw and Kalan Perry. Samantha Elley

EVERY summer Woodburn businesses are inundated with travellers slowly making their way along the Pacific Highway to their holiday destinations.

And every year business owners and staff work long hours to provide services to these travellers as well as locals, but that may all change when the Pacific Highway bypass is complete.

Woodburn IGA employee Narelle Woodley has been working at the small supermarket for the last six years and has seen many Christmas boom times.

"Since New Year's Eve when I've been working it has been very busy," she said.

"Travellers will come in and buy the small stuff like drinks, smokes, nibblies and food when it's around lunchtime.

"Locals will come in to get their groceries and staples like milk and bread."

Ms Woodley said she believes this will all change when travellers will no longer need to drive through and stop off at Woodburn.

"It will slow things right down," she said.

"It's a bit scary as we will still have the locals but it's not the volume we need to keep going."

Ms Woodley said community events such as the local Northern Rivers Waterski club help boost sales when they meet across the road at the river.

Burntwood Cafe & Pizza owner Alex Clark is experiencing his second Christmas having opened the shop in March 2016.

"Sales have been similar to last year with lots of business," he said.

"I'd say there is a slight increase in trade thanks to the workers from the highway."

Mr Clarke said it was hard to know what business would be like once travellers will be able to bypass the town.

"If you go by what happens in other places such as Bangalow and Brunswick Heads, there seems to be a drop in trade and then it surges again," he said.

It was announced this year that Woodburn Riverside Park will receive a $700,000 makeover to help make it attractive to passing motorists post-bypass.

"We are looking at opportunities to make sure the town prospers post bypass because at the moment it does really rely on the passing trade of motorists." Richmond Valley general manager Vaughan Macdonald had told The Northern Star earlier this year.

Key statistics of the Ballina to Woolgoolga bypass

  • Building 155km of four-lane divided road
  • Bypasses of Woodburn, Broadwater and Wardell
  • Open to traffic by 2020
  • 13km distance and 25 minutes travel time saving
  • Peak of 2500 direct and 7500 indirect jobs

Topics:  ballina bypass burntwood cafe & pizza northern rivers economy pacific highway upgrade woodburn

Local Partners