Holiday plan for busy highway

POLICE and the RTA are bracing themselves for clogged Coffs Coast roads during the school holidays.

The notorious highway stretch between Nambucca Heads and Urunga has been singled out as a trouble spot to watch, with officers out in force in a bid to prevent highway carnage.

RTA road crews have a holiday management plan for Coffs Harbour, Macksville, Ballina and Kempsey where they will monitor traffic flows and if necessary change traffic-light phasing to improve conditions for motorists.

“We have staff rostered on at the Grafton regional office and in Sydney to monitor the traffic conditions including the use of six closed-circuit television cameras in Coffs Harbour,” a Transport Management Centre spokesman said.

“We also have mobile crews out and about in these key towns and on the highway. This plan covers all school holidays.

“Boxing Day is a particularly busy day and our staff will monitor traffic conditions through Coffs Harbour and where necessary will adjust traffic-light phasing to manage the flow of traffic.

“The key dates when there is likely to be more traffic are the public holidays."

The RTA said traffic increases by up to 50 per cent during the busy Christmas school holidays.

“Heavy traffic is expected on the Pacific Highway through Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga from December 17 until early January," the spokesman said.

"Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga usually experience heavy congestion in both directions."

Christmas 2009 delivered traffic queues of up to eight kilometres on the approaches to Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga with delays of up to 30 minutes.

“Special care should be taken particularly on the Pacific Highway through Kempsey, Macksville, Urunga, Nambucca Heads, Coffs Harbour and Ballina,” the spokesman said.

In addition to the permanent electronic message signs, portable signs would be installed along the highway to provide motorists with information on traffic queuing and delays.

Double demerit points will apply from midnight on December 23 to midnight on January 3.

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