by Cathy Adams
THE OPERATIONS manager of a major Northern Rivers freight company said the Pacific Highway will be "absolute mayhem" during the Commonwealth Games.
Games organisers have warned of congestion on the highway in the weeks surrounding the event, and suggest travellers consider alternative travel arrangements.
However, for a national freight company, that isn't an option.
Operations manager of Hernes Freight Service Tony Cutler said traffic on the highway at the Gold Coast was already congested as infrastructure had failed to keep up with a growing population - and that would only get worse with the addition of the Games' traffic.
"It's already mayhem now," he said. "Imagine it with the extra traffic."
While dreading the "mayhem", Mr Cutler said the company had already put arrangements in place to alter some of their runs to Brisbane, including running at night to ease some of the congestion issues.
"As a company, we are working with our customers to minimise the impact," he said.
There were flow on effects - to staff and wages, and negotiating noise curfews - but communication, he said, was the key to overcoming those issues.
Mr Cutler acknowledged the Games would only run for a short time, but thought traffic arrangements for heavy vehicles could have been better managed.
He said express right-hand lanes with limited on and off ramps for b-doubles and trucks travelling through the area would have been a better solution than restricting heavy traffic to left-hand lanes.
"Most b-doubles are going the full length of the 20-30km stretch," he said. "If most of the trucks were in an express lane from Springwood to Mudgeeraba, they would stay there.
"It wouldn't reduce congestion, but it would flow easier and there would be less incidents".
He said truck drivers were already experiencing issues - which would be compounded by an influx of Games' visitors - with drivers attempting to merge from on ramps into left hand lanes full of heavy vehicle traffic.
As for an alternative route, Mr Cutler said it wasn't feasible.
How the Commonwealth Games will affect your travel on the Pacific Highway
Games organisers said: The M1 (Pacific Highway) is going to experience increased demand and congestion leading up to and during the Games as they are the major thoroughfares for both spectator, commuter and visitor travel.
To keep you moving and ensure you get to where you need to go we recommend you:
- start thinking about travel alternatives
- be aware of the busiest times and locations to avoid, and
- be aware of M1 changes.
Trucks over 4.5 tonnes will be restricted to using the two left lanes only between Springwood and Robina. Other vehicles will be able to use lanes on the M1 as usual with no restrictions.
Start: August 1, 2017
Finish: Will be reviewed.
Games vehicles (athletes and officials)
Allowing vehicles carrying athletes and officials to travel along the hard shoulder of the M1, under police escort where safe and at low speed, if there is severe congestion that may prevent them from arriving at an event on time.
Start: April 4 ,2018
Finish: April 18, 2018
Reducing the speed in the 100km/h zone by 10km/h to 90km/h from the M1/M3 merge at Eight Mile Plains to Logan Motorway Interchange.
Start: March 1,2018
Finish: April 17, 2018
Reducing the speed in the 110km/h speed zone by 10km/h to 100km/h from the Logan Motorway Interchange to Smith Street (Exit 66).
Start: March 1, 2018
Finish: April 17, 2018
Temporary ramp management at the southbound Gold Coast Highway and Smith Street on-ramps. These will keep traffic moving at a constant pace as vehicles join the motorway.
Start: March 1, 2018
Finish: April 15, 2018
Additional Traffic Response Units (TRU) and towing vehicles will be deployed along key sections of the M1 to ensure incidents are cleared as quickly as possible. This will be a staged rollout and reduction, with all additional units and vehicles in place between 4-15 April 2018.
Start: March 25, 2018
Finish: April 18, 2018.
Travel times are expected to be significantly longer throughout the Gold Coast area. Tuesday April 10 and Saturday April 14 are expected to be the busiest across the Games period with significant delays. Please allow additional time for any journeys you must make
Tips for travelling on the M1 Motorway
- Tips for traveling on the M1 Motorway toward the Gold Coast from Brisbane
Aim to travel very early in the morning before the usual peak, during the middle part of the day from about midday to 3pm or later in the evening from 7pm.
- Tips for travelling on the M1 Motorway toward Brisbane from the Gold Coast
Aim to travel either before 3pm or from 7pm. We expect that it will be significantly busier from about 10pm.
- Tips for travelling on the M1 Motorway toward the Gold Coast from New South Wales
Aim to travel either very early in the morning before the usual peak, during the middle part of the day from about midday to 3pm or later in the evening from 7pm.
The busiest sections of the M1 Motorway are expected to be:
- Beenleigh to Coomera
- The M1 in both directions from Exit 34 (Beenleigh) to Exit 54 (Coomera) is expected to be busier than usual in both directions 6am to midnight.
- Coomera and Oxenford
- The M1 in both directions around Exits 54 (Coomera) and 57 (Oxenford) is expected to be busier than usual in both directions 6am to midnight.
- Exits 54 (Coomera) and 57 (Oxenford) are expected to be significantly busier than usual 8am to 6pm.
- Exit 62 (Helensvale south) is expected to be busy than usual all day.
- The M1 in both directions around Exit 62 (Helensvale South) is expected to be significantly busier from 6am to 9am 4pm-midnight.
- Exit 66 (Southport) near Smith Street is expected to be significantly busier than usual in the afternoon and evening period every day.
- The M1 in both directions around Exit 82 (Robina) is expected to be busy from 9am to midday on most days.
- The M1 in both directions near Exit 82 (Robina) is expected to be significantly busier than usual in the afternoon and evening period between 3pm-8pm every day.
- The M1 southbound near Exit 95 (Stewart Road, Currumbin/Tugun) is expected to be significantly busier than usual from 3pm to midnight for the entire Games.
- The M1 northbound near Exit 95 (Stewart Road, Currumbin/Tugun) is expected to be significantly busier than usual from 6am to 11am and 2pm to 7pm every day for the entire Games.