Byron Bay Bypass

Byron Shire Council has received approval and full funding from the NSW State Government for the construction of a Byron Bay town centre bypass, to connect Shirley Street (north) to Browning Street (south).

Project scope

The construction of the bypass will include the provision of the following infrastructure:

  • upgrade of the existing Butler Street including a new roundabout at Somerset Street
  • an extension of Butler Street to the south
  • an extension of Browning Street to the west of Jonson Street 
  • a new level rail crossing between the Butler Street and Browning Street extensions
  • a new roundabout at the intersection of Browning Street and Jonson Street.

Project construction is planned for commencement in mid-2019.

Byron Bypass map fixing north point wrong
 

Funding

On 10 December 2018, the NSW State Government announced an additional $9.5 million to fund the construction of the bypass, following Council’s successful application for funding under the ‘Growing Local Economies’ program. 

In addition to the $10.5 million approved by the State Government in September 2014 and Council’s $4 million contribution, the project is fully funded for construction.

Byron Bay is essentially a small town but its popularity as a tourist destination, employment centre and place of residence in recent years has seen a significant increase in traffic.  Over 20,000 vehicles a day travel along Ewingsdale Road, the main entrance to Byron Bay.  In 2017 there were 2.1 million visitors to the Byron Shire with the majority of them visiting Byron Bay.  1.1 million of those visitors were day trippers.

The existing road network within the township of Byron Bay has little to no spare capacity and is restricted by the rail line, which runs parallel to Jonson Street. All through-traffic is forced to travel via the Byron Bay town centre over the single rail crossing on Lawson Street. The infrastructure of Lawson and Jonson Streets can't support the current and future traffic volumes, with heavy congestion experienced during peak periods. Heavy pedestrian and cyclist traffic and crossing of the road network also contributes to congestion issues.

One of the main things to come out of the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan, which was completed in 2016, was the community's desire to get cars out of the CBD and make it more pedestrian-friendly. The Byron Bay Bypass will take traffic out of the town centre by providing an alternative route for people wanting to avoid the CBD.

The objectives of the town centre bypass are to:

  • improve traffic efficiency on the road network within Byron Bay particularly at the Lawson and Jonson Street roundabouts
  • support future growth associated with predicted land use changes in the Byron Shire
  • maximise road safety benefits by improving pedestrian connectivity and reducing conflicts
  • enhance in-town amenity

The significant beneficial effects of the proposal to the wider community include:

  • reduced travel times and congestion
  • improved road safety for road users
  • reduced numbers of heavy vehicles in the town centre 
  • improved town centre amenity 
  • improved provision of pedestrian and cyclist facilities
  • improved transport efficiency
  • improved emergency access to,  from and through the town centre

2014

Council resolved and announced the preferred route for the Byron Bay Bypass along Butler Street.

GHD was engaged to develop the concept design, undertake a detailed environmental impact study and undertake the State Government Biobanking process for the preferred bypass route.

September 2014

State Government commits $10.5 million funding to the Byron Bay Bypass project.

Early 2015

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) provided Council with the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the framework for the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The EIS for the preferred route on Butler Street commenced. 

Community displays and meetings were held seeking input from the community.

Mid 2015

A Development Application (DA) and the EIS was submitted by GHD to Council for assessment.

Biobanking Statement was requested by GHD from OEH.

Late 2015

DA and EIS were withdrawn pending approval of the Biobanking Statement. 

Biobanking Statement was approved by OEH. 

2016

Council submitted a revised DA and EIS for the Byron Bay Bypass in January 2016.

The project was approved by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (NRJPP) on 22 June 2016.

In August 2016, The Butler Street Community Network announced it would appeal the JRPP's approval of the bypass.

At the end of 2016 Council and the Butler Street Community Network went to conciliation, as required by court, but no agreement was reached.

GHD completed detailed design of the bypass.

June 2017

Land and Environment Court Ruling in favour of Council for approval of the Byron Bay Bypass.

2018

Council’s project team continues preparation for project implementation, pending additional funding for construction. 

November 2018

Biobanking Agreement approved by OEH.

December 2018

Additional funding announced by the NSW State Government under the Growing Local Economies grant program.

BioBanking

In addition to the rigorous environmental assessment, approved BioBanking statement and finalised BioBanking agreement, there are a broad range of environmental requirements to be fulfilled as part of the construction of the bypass.

What is BioBanking?

In early 2019, a Stakeholder Group will be established for the proposed bypass prior to the commencement of construction.

Stakeholders from the following organisations and groups will be invited as a minimum:

  • The Park Management Committee for Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve
  • Roads and Maritime Services
  • Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Transport for NSW
  • The Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corp (Arakwal)
  • Adjoining Landowners to the Byron Bypass Route (maximum of three representatives)
  • Byron Aged Care Facility
  • Council Officers
  • Representatives from the Community and Farmers Market
  • The Chamber of Commerce

The group will be provided with information about the work program for the bypass, traffic management, and changed traffic conditions, and to resolve any unforeseen issues as they arise during the construction phase of the development.

The group is to be chaired by Byron Shire Council's Project Manager for the Byron Bypass and will meet one month prior to work commencing and every second month during the construction period.