Traffic congestion issues in and around Byron Bay
Published on 24 November 2020
The traffic congestion in and around Byron Bay this week (Monday 23 and Tues 24 November) is the result of a number of coinciding factors including swelling visitor numbers for Schoolies week, scheduled roadworks on the Byron Bay Bypass (on Shirley Street) and road closures on Bangalow Road due to filming of the Nine Perfect Strangers mini-series.
“What we’re unfortunately experiencing this week is a whole range of works and events occurring at the same time and causing a scale of traffic issues we have not seen before in Byron Bay,” Council’s Director Infrastructure Services, Phil Holloway said.
“At the Shirley St / Butler St roundabout area, Council is doing critical asphalt sealing works as part of the Byron Bay Bypass which cannot be delayed due to expected rain this week,” he said.
With the Byron Bay bypass project nearing completion the project is working on a critical timeline and the asphalting works could not be delayed.
“The most restrictive works have been scheduled to start from 5am to avoid peak hour. Works have been adjusted where possible to reduce traffic wait times,” he said.
“These works are a significant cause of congestion but are only scheduled for this week,” Mr Holloway said.
“Normally this would be a reasonable inconvenience but it has become a significant issue due to Schoolies and people avoiding Bangalow Road.
“The delays and congestion on Bangalow Road are caused by the filming of Nine Perfect Strangers.
“Some cars trying to access Byron via Bangalow Rd have been turning around and using Ewingsdale Rd which adds to the traffic volume there.
“Council has a limited ability to refuse filming as we are bound by the Local Government Filming Protocol to provide approvals to enable this industry to operate. All requests from the film industry for road closures must go through the Local Traffic Committee and be reported to Council,” Mr Holloway said.
The road closures for this mini-series were supported by the Local Traffic Committee which comprises Transport for NSW, Police, Member for Ballina and a Councillor – at a Council meeting in September, and again in October (with changes).
The NSW Government has also made film-making a priority in this state and this is what attracted a mini-series of this scale (Nine Perfect Strangers) to the Byron Shire. The budget for the mini-series is reported to be around $100 million.
The film company is required to conduct its own consultation with residents and businesses impacted directly by the road closures.
Council does not receive any funding from this film project, apart from nominal road closure fees.
“People are asking us how much money we got from our involvement in closing the roads for this film and the answer is that the same nominal fees apply to anyone requesting a road closure whether it’s to shoot a film or run a sporting event,” Mr Holloway said.