Merimbula’s new multi-million dollar bypass is opening early with mayor Kristy McBain on hand to see the traffic use the new intersection for the first time.
On Tuesday workers were applying the finishing touches to the road, painting centre lines and pedestrian crossings while Roads and Maritime Services checked the traffic light system.
RMS will remain on site for the next couple of days to troubleshoot should any problems occur over the traffic light rotation.
While there is still work to complete on garden beds and landscaping around the intersection, the main work on the road is now complete.
For project engineer David Buckley it has been a massive undertaking encompassing many different aspects and has included moving low voltage power underground, re-siting Telstra pits, improving drainage, moving water mains and overseeing the landscaping design of surrounding areas.
In doing so he has also had to deal with the discovery of old underground fuel tanks, closing off pathways and juggling the multiple services needed on site as well as ensuring that some form of access through the town remained at all times.
The bypass runs from the roundabout on Merimbula Drive, into Park Street, taking in a re-aligned Palmer Street and Monoro Street intersection before reaching the new traffic lights at Monaro and Market Streets. It incorporates four pedestrian crossings with red do not turn lights to allow time for pedestrians to cross on the multi-way intersection.
Drivers will also have to get used to the idea that they will be turning right to go into Market Street and the CDB when approaching from the southern end of town as the intersection prioritises traffic flow on the bypass.
The aim of the bypass is to remove traffic that is travelling through and not stopping, from the CBD area and the difficult intersections at Main Street and Market Street and at Hylands Corner.
For those who want to stop, the bypass runs alongside the Palmer Lane parking areas. Ultimately less traffic through Market Street will allow it to become pedestrianised and more conducive to a relaxed atmosphere associated with a tourist town.
The intersection work started after the Merimbula Jazz Festival and was due to be completed in October, Mr Buckley said in May but is delighted that everything has come together to allow an early completion.