It’s moved at snail’s pace, but Byron bypass set to open
It has been a long road to this point, but the Byron Bay Bypass is expected to open this month.
Byron Shire Council's client representative for the bypass, Josh Winter, said contractor Hazell Bros completed the bulk of works at the end of January but there are "minor outstanding works to go through and tidy up".
Mr Winter said the project had "a lot of challenges".
"It's definitely been a challenging project," Mr Winter said.
"We started the project with protesters on site which delayed the start of the project."
When work began on the bypass in mid-2019, and the discovery of an endangered Mitchell's Rainforest Snail was cited among reasons for referring a subsequent stage to the state government for consideration several months later.
Snail surveys were conducted on the site because 1.5 hectares of habitat was being cleared and 163 snails were relocated.
The council was given consent to resume work in January 2020.
Mr Winter said the discovery of the endangered Mitchell's Rainforest Snail added about eight months.
"That, without a shadow of a doubt, has delayed the completion of this project," he said.
"I would say for a project of this size the challenges have … exceeded what would be typical for a project of this size."
He said this had affected the project's budget and completion time.
"We were pushing for Christmas (2020) completion but we do need to finish the works to the houses on Butler St," he said.
"That's looking like it's very likely wrapping up toward the end of the month as well."
Mr Winter said about 15 properties along the bypass have received a range of treatments.
All of them received a 1.8m high front fence, which Mr Winter said was not typically allowed in this heritage conservation area.
"We've optically reduced the visual height of the fences with landscaping," he said.
Other treatments have included ticker laminated glass and airconditioning for affected rooms, with measures dependant on a range of factors, such as how far the home is from the road and whether it's high or low-set.
"Some of them got wall and floor insulation as well," he said.
While the bypass can't fix the congestion on Ewingsdale Rd - this was never the intention - it is expected to ease traffic in the CBD, paving the way for a more pedestrian-friendly Jonson St.
"It's the first domino to fall for council … as part of the masterplan toward promotion of pedestrians above cars," he said.