TRAFFIC on the Great Western Highway repeatedly ground to a standstill at peak times over the past two days.
The traffic nightmare began when floodwater from the Raglan Creek spilled on to the highway linking Bathurst and Kelso about 8.40am Wednesday.
Only one westbound lane of the highway remained open, forcing the heavy volume of traffic travelling into Bathurst and beyond to merge into one lane.
The two eastbound lanes heading towards Sydney remained open.
The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the low level bridge linking Bathurst and Kelso was closed to traffic, as was the causeway on Eleven Mile Drive often used by residents of the neighbouring village of Eglinton.
The volume of traffic on the highway significantly increased mid-afternoon when misinformation was released warning people that police would close the highway at 3pm, leaving workers running to their cars to ensure they were not caught on the wrong side of the bridge.
A number of large industries in Kelso allowed workers to go home and be with their families and this added to heavy traffic on the feeder roads spilling vehicles onto the Great Western Highway.
Bathurst police said yesterday it was taking motorists about 90 minutes to drive into the city from the airport at Raglan on Wednesday afternoon.
This continued into the evening.
A police spokesman said initially the traffic problems had been exacerbated by the release of misinformation that the bridge was closing.
He added that this did not come from the police.
“Information wasn’t flowing as quickly as it needed to be,” he said.
“People were frustrated by the long traffic delays but fortunately there were no accidents.”
The traffic deadlock became a problem again during peak hour yesterday morning with cars backed up as far as Raglan, leaving drivers fuming.
One parent reported that it took more than an hour to drive their child from their home on the Oberon Road to Holy Family School.
The problem was getting onto the Great Western Highway from the feeder road, a problem made worse by the number of school buses and trucks squeezing into the slow moving traffic.
But with all four lanes of the Great Western High-
way open from around midday yesterday, Bath-
urst Regional Council was anticipating the traffic chaos would lessen as the afternoon wore on.