6 April, 2023
Mareeba backs bypass plan
A SURVEY conducted on the proposed Mareeba Bypass has revealed that more than 80 per cent strongly support the alternative road going ahead and want it built sooner than later.
The survey was conducted by the Department of Transport and Main Roads in January and February to ascertain how Mareeba residents felt about the proposed bypass.
Only 28 per cent of respondents said they felt safe crossing Byrnes Street due to the number of heavy vehicles using the road, with noise, pollution, pedestrian safety, smell and congestion the most common issues people have with the trucks.
“Crossing the road involves watching for oncoming traffic, reversing cars, traffic turning onto Byrnes Street and cars cutting through the centre median parks to do a U-turn,” one person said in their feedback.
But while they want the street made safer, the majority – 79.3 per cent – want the street to remain two lanes in each direction to keep traffic flowing.
Some residents said that “through traffic keep right” signs might improve safety, according to the survey results.
“Keep both lanes going each way as the inner lane is good for reversing vehicles – the inner lane should be signposted as something like ‘business traffic’ and the outer lane posted as a ‘through’ lane,” one person said.
The survey also revealed that 29 per cent strongly agreed there were not enough car parks on Byrnes Street and many said the current parking arrangements were a safety issue.
Respondents believed the bypass would reduce the number of heavy vehicles in Byrnes Street and 77.9 per cent thought it would reduce noise, vibration and air pollution in the street.
Nearly 77 per cent strongly agreed the bypass would improve safety in the main street, and 63 per cent thought the bypass would provide opportunities to make the street more appealing.
The survey confirmed there was concern that about heavy vehicles and other traffic avoiding Byrnes Street, instead driving through local streets like Walsh and Constance streets and Anzac Avenue.
“I try and avoid travelling through Byrnes Street, I usually take a side road but, now, a lot of other vehicles are doing the same. If there was a bypass, I would go back to travelling on Byrnes Street more often,” one person wrote.
Some residents were concerned about the impact the bypass might have on businesses in the CBD.
“Various respondents mentioned concerns about property impacts relating to the bypass – resumptions, noise during construction, traffic noise, the removal of vegetation and so on,” the survey report stated.
“My main concern is the noise that will come from the bypass day and night and how that is going to affect the people living close to it,” one person said in their feedback.
According to the survey report, some people suggested alternate locations for the bypass such as the railway track or locations further out of town to minimise property impact.
They also suggested various treatments for the bypass such as including wide centre line treatment, rest areas for trucks and bicycle lanes.
The survey also asked respondents to list any concerns they had with other roads in the town. The most common were the Kennedy Highway Mareeba/Dimbulah Road intersection, McIvor Road, the Mareeba-Dimbulah Road/Costin Street intersection, Mareeba Connection Road intersection, Anzac Avenue and Walsh Street.