BYRON Shire Council staff have acknowledged Byron Bay’s traffic woes are at a scale not seen before in the town.
Roadworks on the Byron Bay Bypass at Shirley St, an influx of visitors – bolstered by school leavers – and road closures due to filming of Nicole Kidman’s new Nine Perfect Strangers miniseries have all accumulated to result in the current conditions, the council’s director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, said.
“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,” Mr 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 the bypass project was nearing completion so this project has been running on a critical timeline.
“The most restrictive works have been scheduled to start from 5am to avoid peak hour,” he said.
“Works have been adjusted where possible to reduce traffic wait times.
“These works are a significant cause of congestion but are only scheduled for this week.
“Normally this would be a reasonable inconvenience but it has become a significant issue due to Schoolies and people avoiding Bangalow Rd.
“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 are now 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.”
The Local Traffic Committee supported the road closures for Nine Perfect Strangers, which is understood to have a $100 million budget.
Mr Holloway said the council derives only nominal road closure fees from this.
“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.
He said there are diversions along Coopers Shoot Rd.