Bridge work that closed the famous Lions Rd on the Queensland and NSW border in January will keep the popular motorcycle route closed until the end of the year.
It was supposed to be closed to traffic for only six months, but bad weather has forced delays until December 15, according to Roads and Maritime Services.
When it opens, heavy traffic will be permitted on the road as the picturesque wooden bridges – some single lane – are being replaced by modern, two-lane, concrete bridges. They will have no load limits, allowing trucks and caravans to use the route.
While the work will help keep the road open in flood times, it may become a slower trip with riders hindered by slow-moving trucks and caravans using the shorter route.
Kyogle Council says the new bridges will help the local timber and beef industries, so we can expect logging trucks and cattle transports on the road.
The alternative route along the Mt Lindesay Highway and Summerland Way almost to Woodenbong is 24.3km longer, so many other interstate trucks and grey nomads may also start choosing the hilly Lions Rd.
Council says the bridges will help the tourism industry, but it certainly won’t help motorcycle tourism if the road is open to big trucks and caravanners.
Kyogle Council says the two-lane concrete bridges will mean faster and easier access for emergency vehicles.
Let’s hope that the improved road does not also come down with a dose of “white-line fever” with solid white and double-white lines painted along its length, preventing legal overtaking.
Signs at either end of the road say it is closed to through traffic, however some riders have been ignoring the signs and using the dirt detours.
The delays have also forced organisers of the Lions TT to postpone their September event until next year.