Spike in crashes at Alstonville bypass 'devastating'
TWO people who fought hard for the Alstonville bypass have revealed they are "devastated" by the increasing number of crashes on the road.
Bob Wilson and Neil Chesworth were key drivers behind the 20-year campaign for the bypass, which was eventually built in 2011 at a cost of more than $100 million.
But despite the victory, the two men said they believed the bypass was an "inadequate solution" for the community, and have called on residents to continue to push for a dual carriageway and an upgrade to the entire Ballina to Lismore road.
It comes after a spike in crashes and near-misses at the junction of the Alstonville bypass and Ballina Rd at Alstonville, including the death of a motorcyclist in November.
Mr Chesworth said the Alstonville bypass action group had known that intersection would be a problem.
He said they had lobbied for overpasses at the Alstonville and Wollongbar ends, similar to the one built at the Russelton industrial estate, only to be told they could be putting the entire bypass project in jeopardy.
He said it was a major disappointment the group's vision for a separated, dual-lane bypass wasn't achieved.
"It's a shame this vital work wasn't done when the Alstonville bypass was built," Mr Chesworth said.
"The traffic counts had been done ... we all knew the volume of traffic that would be using it."
Mr Wilson said he wanted the community to understand the group had worked hard for a better outcome.
"We weren't listened to. That merge lane is far too short, it's absolutely ridiculous and needs to be at least two or three times longer," he said.
"It's already becoming a death road ... it's devastating."
Mr Chesworth said by 2007 the Alstonville bypass issue was being used for political point-scoring .
"As a result, what we have is now is an inadequate solution for the Alstonville community," he said.
Former MP Don Page said he supported calls for a dual carriageway for the entire bypass.
Mr Page said extending the notorious intersection's merging lane eastbound could be "an achievable short-term solution".