More than two decades after it was first mooted and following four years of construction, the Ballina Bypass is today a reality – a tribute to the local community which had championed the project for many years, most notably the past and present members of the Ballina Bypass Action Group.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said it had been a privilege to see this project through from beginning to end and a special honour to have worked alongside local MP Janelle Saffin whose strong advocacy secured the necessary funding in the first place.
“I was there in early 2008 to turn the first sod. Now, four years later, the job is done and the transformation of Ballina into an even better place to live and holiday has already begun,” said Mr Albanese.
“Indeed, so determined to honour our election pledge and build this long awaited piece infrastructure as quickly as possible, the funding for it was brought forward in our very first budget at Janelle’s insistence. When it comes to infrastructure, Federal Labor believes in what it says and delivers what it promises.”
Representing Mr Albanese, Page MP Janelle Saffin was today joined by NSW Minister for Local Government and the North Coast Don Page to mark the completion of major works on the final section and to confirm the new Bypass, in its entirety, will open to traffic next week, subject to the weather.
Ms Saffin said 1,500 trucks a day rumbling through the heart of their town is already fading in the memories of local Ballina residents, with users of the Highway now able to avoid five roundabouts, multiple traffic lights and 60 km/h speed zones – an obstacle course which added up to 12 minutes to a typical journey.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era. The Ballina Bypass is no longer an aspiration or a line on the map. It is a real road being used by real trucks and cars delivering real benefits,” said Ms Saffin.
“I also acknowledge the 1,800 people who worked on this large and complex engineering project. It was because of their expertise and hard work that the bypass has been completed on budget and ahead of schedule.”
Mr Page said the new Teven Road interchange would provide direct access to the Pacific Highway north and southbound and to Ballina via River Street.
“The opening of the Bruxner Highway connection at Pimlico will see traffic travel on a new bridge over Emigrant Creek south to meet the recently opened Teven Road interchange roundabout,” said Mr Page.
The new Ballina Bypass was jointly funded by the Federal ($450 million) and NSW ($190 million) governments and built by an alliance involving RMS, Leighton Contractors, AECOM, SMEC and Coffey Geotechnics.
Motorists are advised of the following traffic changes:
- Motorists will no longer be able to turn right onto the Bruxner Highway from the Pacific Highway to access Alstonville and Lismore.
- Northbound and southbound access to the Pacific Highway will now be via the new Teven Road interchange. Bruxner Highway motorists will no longer be able to turn right or left onto the Pacific Highway.
- Motorists using the Teven Road roundabout from Ballina travelling to, Alstonville and Lismore or Teven Road need to follow the new route’s signs on the roundabout.
- Northbound Pacific Highway motorists will still be able to turn left onto the Bruxner Highway to access Alstonville and Lismore.