Heavy rain and flooding shuts NSW roads

Heavy rain and flooding batters NSW, forcing the closure of key parts of the road network

Heavy rain and flooding shuts NSW roads
Heavy rain and flooding shuts NSW roads
By Brad Gardner | June 16, 2011

Transport operators’ trip schedules are likely to be thrown off course, as heavy rain and flooding batters NSW and forces the closure of key parts of the road network.

Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher says a low pressure bringing heavy showers and thunderstorms is causing significant damage along the NSW mid north coast.

Sections of the Pacific, Oxley and New England highways have been closed, with the NSW Government declaring natural disaster zones for regions including Belligen, Kempsey Shire and the Upper Hunter.

"The weather pattern is so destructive because it contains several low centres within it, all delivering damaging winds of up to 100km/h and rainfall in excess of 200mm," Gallacher says.

Homes and buildings have lost their roofs, trees have been uprooted and cars have been swept away in the deluge.

Gallacher says flood warnings have been issued for a number of the state’s river systems, including the Macleay and Hastings rivers. Emergency crews have issued evacuation warnings for some towns, while other townships have been cut off.

A traffic update issued by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) freight branch today has told northbound heavy vehicles to avoid the Pacific Highway between Port Macquarie and Clybucca.

"Northbound heavy vehicles are advised to park at rest areas and service centres south of Port Macquarie," the missive says.

Furthermore, heavy vehicles have been stopped from accessing the Oxley and New England highways at Heron Creek due to flooding.

"Due to the amount of rain that has fallen we have been forced to close roads. In some locations it is simply too dangerous for vehicles to pass due to the height and speed of the rising floodwaters," Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay says.

He says initial reports suggest the Pacific Highway at Kempsey could be closed for about five days due to rising floodwaters.

The RTA is providing updates on the latest road closures on its live traffic website.

"Motorists can also call the toll free number 132 701 for the latest information on flood-affected roads," Gay says.

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