The NSW Roads Minister is urging motorists to reconsider their travel plans after floodwaters closed or damaged major roads and highways across the state’s Central Tablelands, Central West, Orana and Far West.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway said heavy storms on Sunday and Monday morning brought falls of 120 millimetres of rain from the Blue Mountains to the Far West, causing significant damage to roads, bridges and transport infrastructure.
“Many people and communities are being evacuated and the extent of the damage cannot yet be safely assessed, so for now we are asking all motorists to reconsider the need to travel to flood affected areas,” Mr Farraway said.
“Many roads across the region are closed and others are likely to close with minimal notice.
“I cannot stress enough just how important it is for motorists to be extra vigilant on the roads and of course, to never drive through floodwaters.
“There are images of roads being swept away by the force of these floods, which is a powerful reminder to us all that if it’s flooded, forget it.”
Mr Farraway said flooded roads were not the only danger facing motorists, with potholes and damaged road surfaces also creating hazards.
“Even when the water recedes we urge motorists to be aware that while our crews are working around the clock to repair potholes and damaged roads, they simply cannot keep up with the volume of work at present,” Mr Farraway said.
“Please don’t assume that just because a road is open it is going to be anything like the road you are used to. Slow down and drive to the new conditions as you find them.”
The floodwaters have cut a number of major transport routes, impacting local communities and creating challenges for the state’s freight operators.
Among the state roads impacted by the flooding, as at 8pm on Monday, were:
- Newell Highway: Closed in both directions between Forbes and West Wyalong; closed in both directions between Forest Road and Saleyards Road, Forbes to Parkes; closed in both directions between Gillenbah and Jerilderie.
- The Escort Way: Closed in both directions between Forbes and Cudal.
- Lachlan Valley Way: Closed at Forbes; closed between Forbes and Jemalong; closed between Gooloogong and Cowra.
- Mid Western Highway: Closed in both directions between Cowra and Lyndhurst; closed at Andersons Lane, Erigolia; closed in both directions between Newell Highway and Porters Mount Road, Back Creek.
- Henry Parkes Way: Closed at Parkes, Manildra, Parkes and other locations; closed between Parkes and Condobolin.
- Mitchell Highway: has reopened between Orange and Apsley, south of Wellington, after being closed due to flooding.
- Great Western Highway: The Great Western Highway at Kelso near Bathurst reopened to all vehicles overnight under a contra-flow to allow traffic to pass in each direction.
- Castlereagh Highway: Closed in both directions between Bate Street and Nilma Road, Walgett; closed in both directions between Walgett and the Gwydir Highway.
- Kamilaroi Highway: Closed in both directions between Gunnedah and Breeza; closed in both directions between Bourke and Brewarrina; closed in both directions between Walgett and Brewarrina.
- Cobb Highway: Closed in both directions between Wilcannia and Booligal.
- Barrier Highway: Just one lane open one kilometre west of Cobar, stop/slow in place.