Byron Shire Council has welcomed the RTA undertaking to conduct ‘preliminary investigations’ into a southern bypass and highway interchange at Bangalow.

The investigations will occur during the public exhibition period of the recently released Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed Pacific Highway upgrade between Tintenbar to Ewingsdale (T2E).

Mayor Jan Barham said: “The investigation of a southern bypass of Bangalow is welcomed and I thank the Minister for Roads for responding to the issues that were raised with him in a meeting in Sydney earlier this month.

“This resulted from concerns raised by community members about the impact of the upgrade, and council resolved to support an investigation of the bypass option.

“Only by investigating the matter will we know if the option for a southern bypass is a more economic and efficient outcome.

“Council will meet with the RTA next week and will request details on the scope of these investigations, how their findings will be considered and what the timeline will be.

“There are also concerns that the submission deadline of 29 September is barely a week more than the minimum exhibition period of 30 days required, so a request will be made for an extension.

“Council is mindful of the short timeframes available to work through the EA submission and the parallel preliminary investigations, and will look to raise these matters at a briefing with the RTA scheduled for 1 September.

“However, I am very pleased that the Minister listened to the concerns raised and has approved this investigation.

“It is the only way to clarify if there is a better outcome for the people of Bangalow and Ewingsdale who are likely to be affected by the upgrade.

“The investigation will be able to identify if the southern bypass option is feasible.” 

The 402 page EA document is available online at the project’s website which also details the RTA consultation process, including the last of the three staffed displays on 4 September at Newrybar Hall between 10am and 7pm.

An un-staffed display and copies of the EA are also available for viewing at the council’s administration building, 70-90 Station Street, Mullumbimby.

All submissions must be lodged with the Department of Planning by 29 September.