One Byron traffic problem eases
TOMORROW will see one of the rare instances in which Byron Bay's traffic flow will actually improve, but only its foot traffic.
Six and a half years after a landslip next to Lighthouse Rd, locals and visitors will have full use of the entire length of the boardwalk that runs between Captain Cook's Beach car park and Brooke Dr, the entrance to the Pass beach area.
The boardwalk was completed in late 2003 but walkers and bike riders had only 18 months' use of its full length before a section was destroyed by the landslip in June 2005.
And for the past six months or so, still-standing sections of the boardwalk have also been inaccessible.
But this will all change sometime tomorrow.
While it is likely early morning walkers will still have their access blocked, any construction remnants will be removed during the day.
There will be no official reopening of the boardwalk by council, with walkers instead celebrating by no longer having to flirt with traffic along the narrow Lighthouse Rd.
The arguably larger issue of when Lighthouse Rd is once again returned to two lanes is likely to be resolved next month.
Byron Shire Council's executive manger of community infrastructure Phil Holloway said rain had delayed the repair works, though he was pleased the pedestrian boardwalk would be back in action for visitors during the holiday season.
"Work will resume on the road on Friday, January 6 and it is expected to take a couple of weeks.
"Landscaping will also occur during this time," he said.
"The contractors on the project have done their best to get the work completed by Christmas, but the rain over the past few weeks has made it impossible."
At a cost of $2.9million, the Lighthouse Rd works have included the construction of a reinforced soil slope, reconstruction of the boardwalk and site revegetation and restoration.
Byron Bay resident Allan Cowley lives above Lighthouse Rd and welcomed the reopening of the boardwalk.
"It'll be absolutely fantastic. It'll be the best Christmas present Byron Bay and its visitors could have," he said.
Mr Cowley said he was thankful no walkers had been injured in the time the boardwalk was off limits.
"I've been so worried and scared that the people who continue to walk along here will get hurt or injured.
"But no one has, to my knowledge," he said.
"Having something like this is frankly what we all deserve.
"It was such a great loss for the last six and half years. It's just so good to have it back again."