All roads lead to the Ballina bypass

MORE than 80 new families will call Ballina home for the next four years when they come to work on the construction of the $549 million Ballina bypass.

Husband-and-wife team of Tony and Annie Stante, along with their children Joshua, 5, and Ruby, 3, are one of the 40-odd families already in town, with another 40 on the way.

About half of those families are moving here from Sydney.

They will work in areas including construction, engineering and administration.

Tony, Ballina Bypass Alliance Manager, said the project was enticing to work on because of its complex nature, which gave the engineers and supervisors a challenge, offset by the relaxed community lifestyle Ballina had to offer.

“And the fact that it is a four-year project is enticing because it allows families moving here time to settle and become a real part of the community,” Tony said.

“Usually the projects we work on extend for 12 to 18 month periods, which is not quite enough time to do that.

“A lot of the families are joining sports clubs and their children are attending local schools and making friends.”

The Stantes, who now live with their children at Possum Creek, have moved from Sydney to work on the project.

They also brought Annie's mother, Nona, with them to share the experience.

“It's fantastic having moved here,” Annie, who is the alliance's communications manager, said.

“We were living in a beautiful part of Sydney, but something was missing. The Ballina region has a greater sense of community.”

Tony said he had to travel to Sydney every couple of weeks for meetings, which made him realise how much he enjoyed living and working in Ballina now.

“It's a real rat race there. Very hectic,” he said.

Tony has also worked on other major projects including Newcastle's F3 Freeway upgrade and Sydney's Eastern Distributor.

The Ballina bypass, expected to be complete by mid-2012, will deliver about 12km of safer dual carriageway on the Pacific Highway.

Up to 200 people work on the bypass site at any given time, with 600 currently approved to work on the project, including a number of locals.

A Ballina bypass information session will be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday, September 3, at the Teven Road compound, corner of Teven Road and the Pacific Highway.

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