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Flood Sparks Commuter Chaos

Jun 8, 2024

Hawkesbury commuters faced unprecedented gridlock yesterday due to the simultaneous closures of the Richmond and Yarramundi Bridges, peak hour traffic, and the long weekend. Exasperated drivers were stuck in traffic for hours as they tried to get home.

The Yarramundi Bridge closed at about 10:30am, while the Richmond Bridge closed 4pm with little more than a half-hour warning. Traffic controllers were manning traffic on the Richmond Bridge after the guard rails were lowered yesterday afternoon before vehicles were stopped from crossing just before 4pm.  Many commuters, who had already waited for hours to cross the Richmond Bridge, were turned away and redirected to Windsor Bridge, only to face further delays. Transport for NSW and local authorities appeared unprepared for the chaos with no traffic controllers at Windsor to help ease the congestion.

Residents expressed their frustration on social media. “Absolute gridlock every street in Windsor,” Sophie Devine posted on Facebook.

“It took me 2.5 hours to get home from Penrith and 2 hours of that was stuck in Windsor. Once over the bridge, no traffic,” Grant Griffith shared.

“Where is traffic control for this dilemma and who’s bloody decision was it to close the bridge so early with only 30 minutes notice!” Tina Slade commented.

“Huge traffic impacts in Windsor as peak hour attempts to get home via Windsor Bridge single lane turning left needs traffic control urgently,” David Maskell said.

“Wow. Clearly no need for a higher new bridge. What a debacle. When will our politicians care enough to give us decent access? Climate change is here to stay, so we need to fix this problem for those of us who need the bridge and for those affected by flooding. Enough is enough,” Susanna Benzko posted.

“‘Expect extensive delays’ when crossing the Windsor Bridge would be the understatement of the year. It took just over an hour to get from Moses St near St Matthews, Windsor to Buttsworth Creek, Wilberforce – 2:06 PM to 3:10 PM. It is bedlam, but we are all in the same boat, so be kind and wait your turn. Some just want to push in everywhere,” Vicki Murphy said.

“2GB just reported that they don’t expect North Richmond to close,” Fiona Langlands said.

“Imagine if Windsor had a bypass; you wouldn’t have all traffic heading to North Richmond and surrounding areas trying to get across Windsor Bridge! Especially on a long weekend Friday! Darn. Ah well, should have supported us. Too late now. Don’t whinge. Put your music on and sit in the traffic. Have a good weekend, Liberal voters in the Hawkesbury!” Kim Smith remarked.

Windsor Bridge remains open this morning.

Another resident told the Hawkesbury Post that their daughter left work at 2pm in Mount Druitt to avoid traffic delays but arrived at her North Richmond home at 10:30pm after sitting stationary for over an hour near the 7-Eleven in Windsor.

Another commuter reported taking 3.5 hours to drive from Yarramundi to Hawkesbury Heights via Penrith and the Blue Mountains.

There were also reports of horses being evacuated from Richmond Showgrounds to Hawkesbury Showground at Clarendon, taking over two hours to drive the short journey due to traffic gridlock.

Local businesses in Windsor and Richmond say they expect significant financial losses today as customers stay away and staff are unable to reach their workplaces. One hairdresser in Richmond said six clients had cancelled appointments, and two staff members couldn’t get to work. Another cafe reported four staff members were unable to work due to the Richmond Bridge closure and the uncertainty regarding the Windsor Bridge.

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