$25 million plan to ease traffic congestion in Ballina
THE proposal to convert Ballina's River St from two lanes to four from the Pacific Highway through to Kerr St to ease traffic congestion will go to the council meeting on Thursday, January 23.
The concept plan, which was put on public exhibition by Ballina Shire Council late last year and includes a bridge over Fishery Creek, has an estimated cost of $25.4 million, with a four-stage construction timeline.
It won't be any news to motorists, but staff report traffic volumes on River St already exceed
the capacity of a two-lane arterial road, which is about 18,000 vehicles per day.
"The dual-lane project will increase the barrel capacity of River St to around 36,000 vehicles per day which exceeds the traffic volumes predicted up to the year 2036," staff report.
Traffic has been building at West Ballina since the Ballina bypass opened nearly nine years ago.
A Western Arterial Road has been on the books with council for more than 15 years, and some residents have called for this road, linking West Ballina with North Ballina, be built as a priority instead of duplicating River St.
However, staff report modelling of traffic capacity has shown a duplication of River St "is required before and after the provision of the Western Arterial".
"The key reason for this is that the Western Arterial provides a benefit as a connection between West Ballina and North Ballina/Cumbulam; however, a significant proportion of the traffic from River St is seeking access to other areas including the Ballina town centre, Kerr Street retail areas, East Ballina, Shaws Bay, Skennars Head and Lennox Head," the staff report states.
Council in December knocked back an idea to investigate use of an existing service road built during construction of the Ballina bypass as a short-term solution to the traffic woes.
However, council also resolved to investigate further a route to North Ballina from Barlows Rd at West Ballina "to determine a more accurate timeframe and cost estimate".
Council staff recommend the River St duplication project progress to the next stage.