The Great Western Highway descended into chaos on Monday, as the only route available between the Central West and Sydney heavy holiday traffic was causing queues and forcing delays of up to an hour.
With the Bells Line of Road still closed indefinitely all Easter and school holiday traffic was shunted to the Great Western Highway amid multiple warnings of expected delays, with motorists advised to plan ahead and expect additional travel time.
That delays mainly affected westbound traffic early on the Easter weekend but, by Monday afternoon, the impact was largely being felt in the other direction as motorists crossed the Blue Mountains.
Eastbound traffic was banked up from Hartley all the way to Blackheath early on Monday afternoon, with high volumes of motorists heading that way expected at the latter town in particular throughout the day.
The delays were also impacted by roadworks scheduled between 11am and 7pm at Victoria Pass on Monday, with traffic control and speed reductions in both directions expected as necessary.
Transport for NSW also confirmed it would monitor traffic and stop vehicles at the bottom of Victoria Pass if required, should the queues become long enough to justify it.
A three-car crash just after 8am near Glenbrook had impacted one westbound lane of the highway earlier in the day as well, although the vehicles involved were towed and the lane reopened quite quickly to alleviate the pressure.
Earlier in the weekend, the NSW Transport Management Centre reported westbound traffic from Katoomba to Blackheath was heavy enough on Good Friday morning that an additional 25 minutes of travel time should be allowed.
That had become more than an hour's extra travel time by Good Friday afternoon due to the heavy westbound traffic from Blaxland to Blackheath.
The annual exodus from Sydney was complicated this year by the closure of a large section of Bells Line of Road due to landslides around Mount Tomah during last month's days of rain along the eastern seaboard.
The Bells Line is closed between Bell, near Lithgow, and Mount Tomah and no reopening date has yet been set. Transport for NSW geotechnical crews have been on Bells Line to assess the damage.
"A significant landslide has caused a large part of the road to break away and will result in the extended closure of this section while further investigations are carried out and repair work can be undertaken," a spokesperson told the media.
"Further assessments are required to determine the full nature of the damage, what is required to repair the road and the expected timeline to complete works.
"These will be carried out as a priority."
The NSW Government has plans for a duplication of the Great Western Highway from Katoomba to Lithgow and has begun work on a duplication of the highway from Kelso to Raglan to extend the duplication already completed through Kelso.
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