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Peak hour pandemonium

A car overtaking traffic on the wrong side of the road. Image: Contributed.
Frustrations are at boiling point for Grafton peak hour motorists, with many resorting to dangerous and illegal tactics to try to shortcut long lines of traffic waiting to cross the Clarence River bridge. Police have rejected a call for action; however, instead urging motorists to be patient until traffic is eased upon completion of the second bridge. The new bridge is currently under construction but isn’t expected to be finished until 2019. On the south side of the bridge of a morning, motorists in Through Street are frequently crossing onto the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic, to overtake the long line of waiting vehicles. These drivers are then either illegally turning left on the double-lane roundabout into Bent Street, or turning right and around the roundabout to head towards the bridge. The CV Independent has witnessed many near-misses in past weeks, where head-on collisions have been narrowly avoided. Other’s spoken to by the Independent have told a similar story. On the north side of an afternoon, illegal left-hand turns are also common, from the right lane of the roundabout from Villiers Street into Fitzroy Street. Many drivers are also seen turning right from Villiers and circling the roundabout back onto Fitzroy St – legal, but exacerbating delays according to some. Bus drivers are among the motorists fed up with impatient and dangerous behaviour during peak time traffic. One driver spoke last week with the Independent, saying that he witnessed illegal and dangerous motorist behaviour during peak hour traffic “all the time”. “It’s frustrating, you’re sitting there with so many people doing the right thing, then idiots do the wrong thing and slow everyone else down,” he said. “It’s shocking, and someone’s going to get hurt.” He called for police to take action to do something about motorist behaviour during peak time, before someone did get hurt. Inspector Joanne Reid, of Grafton police, said peak hour traffic was a difficult issue to manage with no magic answer. She said that fines would have only a short-term impact on driver behaviour, and she urged motorists to be patient until the new bridge was completed to ease traffic congestion. Insp Reid said police would continue to monitor traffic issues on an as-needed basis, but there were no plans to specifically target peak-hour motorist behaviour in Through or Villier streets.