Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Easter long-weekend chaos across NSW, VIC

With restrictions easing, travelers are keen to escape their respective cities as Easter long-weekend traffic lives up to its reputation. Residents in Queensland and northern NSW breathed a sigh of relief following the lifting of Greater Brisbane’s lockdown. But with it has come “shocking” traffic after thousands, including many households in Melbourne, took to the roads to enjoy the four-day weekend elsewhere.

Those wanting to escape Sydney found themselves in a nightmare situation with the usual long-weekend clog, coupled with ongoing road closures, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic. Motorists on major thoroughfares, including the M1 and the Pacific Highway heading north and the Great Western Highway heading west, were advised to allow plenty of extra travel time this morning. A Blue Mountains tourist group warned its Facebook followers about the “shocking” traffic on the Great Western Highway.

“DON’T go west for a while. This is the view from the Leura bridge at 10.20am,” they wrote, sharing a snap of this morning’s traffic chaos. “Wait until late morning to head off. The traffic past Blackheath will be fine. Traffic in Leura and Katoomba away from the highway is fine.” Queues of cars also began backing up on the Hume Motorway in Campbelltown around 10am, with alternative route west.

The Bells Line of Road closed until further notice following last month’s devastating floods. Meanwhile, on Friday evening, Melbourne’s severe collision with lanes closed in all directions in Swanston St, Carlton. Multiple clashes also occurred across various significant roads in the city today, including on the Monash Freeway and Nepean Highway.

Where you can travel over Easter break

Greater Brisbane residents were released from lockdown at 12pm on Thursday, while late on Thursday, Victoria reclassified Greater Brisbane from a “red zone” to an “orange zone,” allowing people to travel from the city to Victoria from 6pm. However, Western Australia will keep its hard border with Queensland, meaning only travelers with exemptions can enter.

South Australia and Tasmania also closed their borders to Greater Brisbane.

In the Northern Territory, the hotspot arrangement with Greater Brisbane was revoked. Around the NSW and QLD border, restrictions remain for the Byron, Ballina, Tweed, and Lismore Shires. Those restrictions include a maximum of 30 people inside people’s homes, the 4 sqm rule applying to hospitality businesses, no standing up at hospitality venues, masks being mandatory in retail stores, on public transport, as well as by hospitality workers and drivers.

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