Public meeting over fears of highway impact on Bangalow
UPDATE: A ROADS and Maritime Services spokesperson has said that they have carried out extensive consultation on the placement of signs along this section of road.
"Signage plans were included in project documentation and further consultation was recently carried out with Lismore City and Byron Shire councils," they said.
"All white on green directional signs on the new highway will direct highway traffic to Lismore via the Bruxner Highway at Ballina.
"A temporary black and yellow sign will be installed at the Ewingsdale interchange when the project opens to traffic later this year to advise there is alternative access via Lismore Bangalow Road.
"Traffic counts will be carried out before and after the opening of the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale upgrade to help inform decisions around the need for a permanent sign.
"The final upgrade signage plan will be released to the community in coming weeks for information.
"Lismore Bangalow Road is not an approved B-Double route.
"The approved route for B-Doubles longer than 19 metres is via the Bruxner Highway. B-Doubles 19 metres long or smaller can use the same public roads as semi-trailers and this includes the Lismore Bangalow Road."
INITIAL REPORT: BANGALOW residents fear their village will suffer if road signs continue to direct traffic through their community after the Ewingsdale to Tintenbar Pacific Highway upgrade is complete.
The Bangalow Progress Association and Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson will host a public meeting next week to discuss the likely impact of continuing to direct Lismore-bound traffic through Bangalow.
The meeting will be held at Heritage House, Bangalow, at 5.30pm on Thursday June 4.
The question of whether south-bound traffic heading for Lismore would get off has been a fraught question since planning for the highway began, with confusion and debate over the interchange planned for Bangalow and the signage around it.
The final position described on the Roads and Maritime Services website is a half-interchange for vehicles heading south from Bangalow or heading north towards Bangalow. Southbound highway traffic wanting to get to the village will still need to get off at the Ewingsdale interchange and drive up the notorious St Helena Hill.
The RMS says part of the reason for the setup is to provide a detour for traffic in the event of a problem in the St Helena tunnel.
However, residents say the issue goes beyond that, with signage directing Lismore-bound traffic from the highway through the village.
"A traffic count in two weeks of February 2015 showed some 117,000 vehicles used Granuaille Road," Tony Hary from the Progress Association said.
"That's over 3 million vehicles using the road annually. 85% are passenger cars, most without passengers and 2% are semi trailers and some of these were B-doubles.
"There appears to be confusion in Roads and Maritime Services whether the Lismore-Bangalow Road is approved for B-doubles but there is now clear evidence some use it.
"The situation has further deteriorated since demolition of the Binna Burra Bridge removed the height limit on the road."
Mr Hart said the meeting was an opportunity for community members to demonstrate their opposition to the decision by Roads Minister and Roads and Maritime Services to direct traffic to Granuaille Road.
Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said the RMS needed to consider the impact of the highway upgrade on Bangalow.
"Council has consistently requested RMS to show commitment to the people of Bangalow and look to make Granuaille Road and beyond safer and less traffic choked," he said.