Are traffic lights the solution to Byron's traffic woes?
TRAFFIC signals are to be installed on the multimillion-dollar Ewingsdale Interchange on the Pacific Highway near Byron Bay in order to stop dangerous traffic queuing.
In what is already being seen my some motorists as another bandaid measure, the NSW Government has announced it will spend $750,000 on the project.
It appears the work will disadvantage motorists on the Myocum side of the interchange in order to get traffic off the southbound lane of the Pacific Highway more easily.
Transport for NSW will install metering on the eastern roundabout of the Ewingsdale interchange.
This will involve the installation of traffic control signals (lights basically) on the approach to the eastern interchange roundabout on Ewingsdale Road.
Sensors will also be located at other locations to manage the risk of queuing on other approaches to the interchange.
Traffic modelling shows traffic control signals at this location will improve traffic flow from the Pacific Highway onto Ewingsdale Road, which is especially heavy during the morning rush hour.
It routinely results in traffic backed up on the southbound lane of the Pacific Highway and gridlock on the double barrelled roundabouts at the interchange and leading into Byron.
However, it is recognised the metering will create some delay for traffic travelling into Byron Bay from the western side of the Ewingsdale interchange.
The aim of the $750,000 makeover is to reduce traffic queuing on the 100 km/h lanes of the Pacific Highway and the risk of high speed accidents.
Reaction to the proposed changes has been swift since it was posted on the Byron Shire Council's Facebook page.
"I was wondering how long the RMS would take to correct their poor design and planning at this intersection. One can only hope they go back as far as Bangalow and create additional access and egress there to divert some of the traffic from this area," Ashley Thomas posted.
Meanwhile, Wendy Bithell said: "We don't need traffic lights. We need you to fix the roundabout by the hospital. It causes the traffic jams in both directions in the mornings heading into town, in the afternoon going towards the highway."
David J Reid was even more blunt: "Noooooooooooo no. Traffic lights.in the Bay."
Changes were made at the roundabout near Byron Hospital preventing a right hand turn as cars exit the carpark but it hasn't done much to ease congestion.
Basically, having two or four lanes of highway emptying onto a single lane of road into Byron Bay is always going to result in long queues.
In March this year, Anna Zycki of Transport for NSW acknowledged there were ongoing issues.
"We understand this is frustrating for motorists and continue to take seriously the concerns and safety of residents, visitors and Byron Shire Council about the highway interchange," Ms Zycki said.
"The NSW Government is committed to improving journeys for all road users.
"That's why we are committed to working with Council to take a holistic view of the wider Byron road network, and looking to find sustainable transport solutions that fit into that broader context.
"We remain focused on working with council to find longer term solutions to the issues at both the Ewingsdale interchange on the Pacific Highway and Ewingsdale Road."