Bypass opens at last

TWEED commuters came home yesterday to a welcome sight -- an open Tugun Bypass.

But just because the long-awaited bypass finally opened to traffic yesterday afternoon, it didn't mean the congestion-beating roadway didn't have its own traffic snarls as drivers queued to use the $234 million highway.

Just after 2pm, north-bound travellers were the first to use the seven-kilometre bypass that runs from north of Kennedy Drive, Tweed Heads West, under the Gold Coast Airport and across the border to Stewart Road at Currumbin.

Meanwhile, southbound traffic was diverted along the Kennedy Drive exit and back onto the Pacific Highway at one stage on the morning while crews from bypass construction company, Pacific Link Alliance used flame torches and other devices to complete essential line-marking on the Tweed Heads approach to the bypass.

Southbound traffic had to wait until 4pm for their chance to travel the new four-lane bypass that is said to slash a 20 minute journey from Tweed Heads to Currumbin, and the entrance to the M1 motorway, to just five minutes in travel time.

"It was very congested at the Currumbin end of the Tugun Bypass," said one Tugun commuter yesterday afternoon.

"They have just moved the bottleneck from one area to another.

"But it was very good on the Gold Coast Highway, it was clear of traffic. It usually takes me half an hour to get from the motorway to the highway and it only took me five minutes. I was astonished.

"But it is still only early days, so we'll have to wait and see how it goes."

Wet weather was blamed for the delayed opening of the long-awaited bypass that was meant to open to traffic on Monday afternoon, after being walked on by hundreds of Tweed and Gold Coast residents at the community open day on Sunday.

Final line-marking for the bypass, to re-direct traffic along the new road alignment, had to be completed at the Stewart Road end of the bypass, a spokesperson for the Department of Main Roads told The Tweed Daily New on Monday, and that work could not be completed during peak periods, at night or during wet weather.

At least a four-hour window was needed to complete the line-marking with roadcrews starting work at both ends of the bypass at about 9.30am yesterday.

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