UPDATE @ 6.00AM, November 23 | The Pacific Highway in northern New South Wales has reopened, after bushfires closed it to traffic yesterday afternoon.
It closed between Woodburn near Evans Head and Woombah near McLean just before 3.00pm yesterday, due to a bushfire burning in the Richmond Valley.
Spokesperson for the NSW RFS, James Morris, told myGC the highway is reopened though it could likely close again over the weekend.
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“Although the highway does remain open at this stage, we are still seeing significant fire activity on both sides of the highway could close at short notice and could be closed for some time while fire fighters make that area safe whether it be due to dangerous trees, or fire and smoke blocking the highway,” Mr Morris said.
Google Maps still show that the highway is closed through that stretch, though Live Traffic NSW has reported that it is reopen and that the Google information is out of date.
Motorists travelling through the area – which could be thousands of schoolies goers today – are being urged to stay up to date throughout the day.
“It’s certainly a good idea to avoid that area, we’ll still see emergency services and firefighters working along that roadway, with the assistance of water bombing aircraft,” Mr Morris told myGC.
“If you don’t need to be in the area, please avoid it.
“But if you do, please make sure you check either the live traffic website or app for the latest in road traffic closures,” Mr Morris said.
EARLIER @ 4.30PM, November 22 | Bushfires in northern New South Wales are set to cause headaches for travellers heading away for the weekend with major roads, including the Pacific Highway, closed.
The closures will also impact thousands of Schoolies heading to the Gold Coast and Byron Bay from across New South Wales this weekend.
The Pacific Highway is currently closed between Woodburn near Evans Head and Woombah near McLean because of a fire burning in the Richmond Valley.
There is also no access between Casino and Grafton via the Summerland Way.
Motorists are being urged to delay all non-essential travel.
Anyone who does need to travel between Grafton and Ballina is facing a long detour which is likely to add 3.5 hours to the trip.
Drivers are are being advised to use the Gwydir Highway, the New England Highway and the Bruxner Highway instead, however the detour isn’t suitable for B-doubles.