Tenders for the construction of the $90 million Alstonville Bypass on the Bruxner Highway are scheduled to be called on October 6, with its completion scheduled by the end of 2010.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the Rudd Labor Government used its first Budget to bring forward $13.6 million so work on the vital road project could be started at least 12 months early.

“The Alstonville Bypass will clear a major bottleneck on the highway between Ballina and Lismore, and take up to 700 trucks off local town roads,” said Mr Albanese.

“The bypass will separate through and local traffic. 

“In fact, about half of the current highway traffic is not travelling to or from Alstonville-Wollongbar but is simply passing through these townships.”

More than 14,000 vehicles a day travel on this section of the Bruxner Highway.

NSW Roads Minister Michael Daley said the project would involve a 6.2 kilometre bypass of the Bruxner Highway and includes a 1.2 kilometre long east-bound overtaking lane.

“The Alstonville Bypass will provide significant benefits, including quicker travel times and better traffic flow along the existing highway,” said Mr Daley.

The Bypass will begin at Sneaths Road in Wollongbar and rejoin the highway at the Tropical Fruit Research Station at Perrys Hill, east of Alstonville.  The project will also include:

A direct entry/exit point to Kays Lane to be provided to the Bypass, via a new service road;

Entry and exit to Rifle Range Road will be provided via a service road connecting to Sneaths Road;

Stormwater wetlands replaced with retention/sedimentation basins.

Member for Page Janelle Saffin said this was news that the people of Alstonville had waiting decades to hear.
 
“As far back as 1975 there were maps setting out the preferred route, but now finally the project is going ahead,” said Ms Saffin.

“I made an election commitment that the Alstonville Bypass would go ahead and the funding to get it started was announced in the May budget. 

“I’m now delighted to be able tell the people of Alstonville that tenders are about to be called for the project.

“The project has the potential to transform Alstonville from the current traffic-congested thoroughfare into a pedestrian-friendly heritage village. 

“There are huge road safety benefits for residents, particularly the local schoolchildren.

“And, of course, the Alstonville Bypass, by eliminating the congested single-lane route through Alstonville’s main street, will be welcomed by the thousands of motorists who use the Bruxner Highway between Lismore and Ballina every day.”

Tenders will close on 19 November, with construction expected to start early next year. 

The entire project should be completed by the end of 2010.

PICTURE: There have been plenty of protests to get the Alstonville Byass project up and running.