27 March 2024

Easter traffic could be a bunfight, police pinpoint choke points

| Zoe Cartwright
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Police operation

Police will be out in force on NSW roads over the Easter long weekend. Photo: File.

Easter is never an ideal time to hit the roads but authorities are warning this holiday break could be busier than ever.

Transport for NSW Acting Chief Customer Officer Roger Weeks said as the Easter long weekend falls outside NSW school holidays this year, demand on our roads will peak today (Thursday) and on Monday.

A high-visibility NSW Police operation aimed at preventing Easter long weekend road fatalities has already kicked off.

Easter Operation 2024 runs from 12:01 am Thursday 28 March until 11:59 pm on Monday 1 April, and police are encouraging road users to look out for each other while travelling over the long weekend.

Double demerit points are in force throughout the period for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences, to reduce road fatalities and road trauma this weekend.

Officers will also be targeting other high-risk driver behaviour, including the ‘Four Ds’: drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving.

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Traffic and Highway Patrol South Superintendent Jo Thone said officers would saturate roads across the Hume, Wollongong, Lake Illawarra, South Coast and Monaro police districts.

“We will see a significant increase on our roads as people travel to and through southern parts of NSW this long weekend,” Superintendent Thone said.

“A reminder for all road users this weekend is to plan your trips, take regular breaks, don’t drive whilst distracted and don’t take unnecessary risks.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe on the roads, and for those who break the road rules, you will be in our sights,” Superintendent Thone said.

Seven lives were lost on NSW roads over the 2023 Easter long weekend.

Transport for NSW Acting Chief Customer Officer Roger Weeks asked drivers to be flexible.

“We know from previous years where Easter hasn’t aligned with school holidays, that heavy traffic starts to build on Thursday afternoon as school and work wrap up for the week and will continue into the Good Friday public holiday,” Mr Weeks said.

“With more cars on the road, and potentially wet conditions along routes to popular holiday hot spots, we’re reminding people there will be an increased risk on our roads.

“Be flexible, plan your trip and check the forecast before you set off. That extra check could save a lot of time and stress by helping to avoid driving through storms or in the heaviest traffic.”

There will be extra eyes in the sky this long weekend, marking the first Easter break Transport for NSW has deployed drones to monitor traffic at key pinch points on the network.

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Mr Weeks said this aerial advantage allows teams to keep a close eye on the network and manage traffic flow.

“We’ll have traffic monitoring drones up keeping an eye on conditions along key routes, relaying live information back to the Transport Management Centre to help identify and clear issues quickly,” Mr Weeks said.

“We actively push real-time updates out to Live Traffic and navigation apps, but people can stay one step ahead by avoiding travel at peak times.

“Easter marks the start of the autumn break for public schools in Queensland and Victoria, so roads on the state borders will be busy as holidaymakers head to NSW.

“Return traffic will start building from the 1 April Easter Monday public holiday as people head back home to return to work and school on Tuesday.”

Traffic pinch points are expected on the Pacific Highway at Wahroonga, Coffs Harbour, Hexham and Tugun in the north, Blackheath on the Great Western Highway, Pheasants Nest on the Hume Highway and at Nowra, Jervis Bay, Milton and Ulladulla on the Princes Highway in the south.

Traffic volumes are expected to swell again when NSW school holidays kick off in mid-April and ahead of Anzac Day on Thursday 25 April.

Original Article published by Zoe Cartwright on Region Illawarra.

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