Sydney roads busy but ‘quietest we’ve seen’ in Melbourne and Brisbane
A series of crashes in Sydney and surrounding major highways have served up “heavier than usual” Easter conditions, but traffic watchers in Brisbane and Melbourne are scratching their heads over one of the quietest Easter Mondays they’ve seen.
Australian Traffic Network reporter Trevor Collett said while NSW’s South Coast fared reasonably well, there were significant problems on the Great Western and Hume highways.
The Hume was already busy when a four-car crash at Narellan, in Sydney’s south-west caused delays from midday stretching into the evening, while a medical emergency closed the Great Western.
“It closed briefly for a medical emergency right at the point when it was already under the pump,” Mr Collett said.
“And obviously the Great Western is going to continue struggling because of the closures on Bells Line of Road (stemming from the downpour that hit NSW last month).”
There were also major delays around Punchbowl in Sydney’s west after a truck carrying two shipping containers full of plywood tipped, spilling diesel on the road.
Those crashes came after a horror long weekend in which at least 20 people were killed on Australian roads.
Overall, Mr Collett said the traffic was “probably heavier than usual” for an Easter Monday.
But things couldn’t have been more different in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Victoria-based traffic reporter Jess Miller said the worst of the delays happened about 3-4pm on the major freeways heading into Melbourne, but even they were relatively quiet.
Neither the West Gate Bridge nor the Mornington Peninsula Freeway were their usual bumper-to-bumper Easter nightmare.
Ms Miller and her colleagues thought that would mean a big crunch later in the day but even that didn’t eventuate.
“It’s absolutely 100 per cent the quietest we’ve seen it after a long weekend … since I’ve been working in traffic,” Ms Miller said.
While concerns about the coronavirus could provide a potential explanation, Victorian Tourism Industry Council chief executive Felicia Mariani told The Age operators were seeing “one of the best Easter seasons they have seen”.
It was a similar story in south-east Queensland, where some accidents on the Bruce Highway heading back into Brisbane caused problems, but not the kilometres-long blockages holidaymaykers travelling back from the Sunshine Coast usually fear.
“We were quite surprised today. Obviously, it was quite busy but we thought it would be much busier late this afternoon,” ATN traffic reporter Ben Mihan said.
“But obviously with the wet weather probably people decided to stay in.
“It was probably the quietest Easter afternoon for four years, since I’ve been working here.”
Mr Mihan said that could mean trouble for roads on Tuesday morning if travellers had chosen to make a late return.