Ballina quiet as bypass opens
AFTER years of hearing semi-trailers thunder through their town, Ballina residents will tonight finally get a little peace and quiet.
Stage two of the $640 million Ballina bypass will be officially opened by Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese at 1pm today, diverting Pacific Highway through traffic and delivering residents a quieter, cleaner and safer place to live.
It will be a welcome Christmas gift and just in time to ease the dreaded holiday traffic jams that residents love to hate.
The 4.3km second stage of the bypass, between Teven Rd and Cumbalum will all but complete the 12km bypass.
The 5.9 km northern section, from Cumbalum to Ross Lane was opened in March this year, while the remaining third stage, a short stretch connecting the Bruxner Highway to Teven Rd, is expected to be complete early next year.
Chairman of the Ballina Bypass Action Group, Alan Brown, said it was a great day for Ballina.
He said the crowds that turned up to the bypass celebrations at the weekend were proof of how much it meant to the community.
"It will be a relief for a lot ofpeople," Mr Brown said.
He said while many in the business community were still uncertain about the impact it will have, most had readjustment plans in place.
Mr Brown said Ballina would welcome the improvements to safety, pollution and noise, although it might take residents some time to adjust.
"I think some people will be up tonight, waiting for the noise."
- Construction began in May 2008.
- Stage 1 opened in March.
- Stage 2 opens today.
- Stage 3 should open in early 2012.
- Total cost is $640 million.
- The bypass is 12km long and runs from south of Ballina to north of Tintenbar.
- It will cut 12 minutes off the travel time between Ballina and Byron.