Local bloke could have solution to Ballina's traffic woes
WHILE citizen science is a popular method for researchers to collect date, citizen engineering could provide a solution to Ballina's increasing traffic woes.
Ballina Shire Council at its September 26 meeting agreed to Cr Stephen McCarthy's suggestion for a feasibility study into using a service road next to the Pacific Motorway as a bypass for Ballina Island.
Cr McCarthy said the option could help "ease the frustration" of motorists.
Denis Magnay, from the Ballina District Citizens and Ratepayers' Association, said it was one of the association members, Ross Pickering, who noticed the road, which runs on the eastern side of the motorway, and came up with the idea of using it as a bypass and then approaching Cr McCarthy.
The service road was built for construction traffic as work was being done on the upgraded Pacific Highway, linking with River St near the Teven Rd interchange.
Mr Magnay said the increasing traffic congestion was "the most important things in Ballina at the moment".
Traffic heading from Cumbalum through to the Pacific Highway or to Alstonville has to come through Ballina Island, along with traffic from areas on the west side of Ballina heading to the industrial estate or the airport.
Mr Magnay has been lobbying for the proposed Western Arterial Road, linking West Ballina to North Ballina, to be built, though council staff have already advised that is more than 17 years away at least.
Council's current solution to the traffic woes is to convert River St to four lanes from West Ballina through to the Kerr St intersection, and also make Tamarind Dr four lanes from the traffic lights west.
Two new bridges also need to be constructed as part of this plan, which is due to go before council in the coming months.
Mr Magnay said the proposed use of the service road from the Teven Rd interchange through to Flathead Ln could provide a more immediate solution to traffic congestion until such time as the Western Arterial Road is built.
Council also will consider another bypass option of using a council-owned road reserve that has an existing unformed road from Barlows Rd at West Ballina through to Flathead Ln.
Cr McCarthy said it was likely the service road would have to be widened, and some property would have to be acquired, but he considered it could still be a cheaper option than building two new bridges in Ballina.
Councillors also raised the issue of soft soils, which impacted construction of the upgraded Pacific Highway, and also the cost, but in the end agreed to a feasibility study being completed.