Bypass is talk of the town

Within hours of the opening of the Merimbula bypass, council’s Facebook page was incandescent with comments from confused and angry motorists. 

There were 85 comments, some of them extensive and then after a further post from council there were another 65 comments.

Many people said further signage was needed and several people said they were in potential conflict with traffic from other directions while manoeuvring through the new intersection .

Project engineer David Buckley said there had been “some initial teething problems” and added that there would probably be some more directional signage put on the road to help motorists.

The intersection, previously a T-intersection, is now a four-way crossroad.

Mr Buckley said it was one of only three intersections in the Bega Valley that was governed by traffic lights, the other two being in Bega.

“In a standard four-way crossroad, drivers have to give way to oncoming traffic if they are making a right hand turn. A green light is not a green arrow,” Mr Buckley said.

“Roads and Maritime Services said that it takes time for drivers to adjust,” Mr Buckley added. 

After the initial burst of vitriol on social media council put out a statement.

“There are no green right turn arrows, traffic should move into the centre of the intersection, giving way to oncoming traffic,” the council statement said.

“Before too long people will become accustom to the changes and will realise the full benefits of this project,” mayor Kristy McBain said.

But not everyone was against the development with Narelle Hutchinson pointing out that “heading from Woolworths back to Pambula was a breeze,” and adding that it was way better than ever before.

Jeanette and John Drakopoulos also thought the bypass was a good development making it much easier to travel between Pambula and the northern part of Merimbula.

Traffic lights are giving priority to the new bypass route (Park Street). Four pedestrian crossings with red arrows signals have been incorporated in the traffic lights to allow time for pedestrians to cross the intersection.

The intersection cost in the region of $2.5 million and a further $5 million for work from the roundabout on Merimbula Drive through to the intersection but that does not include the cost of land acquisition around the roundabout and Mobil site.