We had a major traffic accident yesterday afternoon, and a major arterial road was closed just before evening rush hour/s began. This was Pialligo Avenue, between Canberra Airport and Queanbeyan. Used by thousands of cars and motorbikes in both directions… in fact it’s become so busy in the evenings that it clogs up east-bound, and in the dark you have to be careful not to believe the 100 km/hr sign because encountering stationary traffic at 100 becomes exciting. I suspect that this is what happened, as this morning there was a great deal of sand and oil at the top of the hill, where the overtaking lanes return to one lane.
You would expect that the local radio would be onto it, alerting the thousands of motorists about to head up that road that they would be turned back. But in the afternoons, 104 pipes some asinine talking show from Sydney. At news time, they had a “traffic report” which appeared to have been pre-recorded. 106 had some local guy, great, but mentions of this road being closed were few… well I heard one mention from him in the 1.5 hours it took me to get from the airport to Queanbeyean.
Worse than this though, is their regular Traffic Report by someone bubbly by the name of “Ilano”. After I and several hundred others had been turned back at the concrete processing place, and inched back past the airport, and onto the the also-clogged Dairy Flat Rd/Monaro, “Ilano” chirpily announed that Pialligo Avenue had now been re-opened! Evidently a number of us heard this, as several cars turned around and headed back to Pialligo. By this stage the roads around the airport were a mess, as it was just after 5pm.
No, Pialligo Avenue was not reopened, so once again we all turned at the Concrete place. Quite a few people had parked and were trying to find someone to ask how long the road would be closed for. And back, inching past the airport, along Moreshed, onto the now very-clogged Dairy Flat, through the also-clogged Fyshwick, and a long crawl onto Canberra Avenue.
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During this time I went around 106 and 104 FM, and 666 ABC on AM, and the best you got was the briefest mention that Pialligo Ave was closed. Later, looking on the ‘net, there was nothing on the ACT Policing site, nothing on the Canberra Times site, and the radio also seemed to lose interest.
Was I the only person wondering, why wasn’t our local radio stations helping by alerting people about the closed road and the clogged roads, so people might at least change their plans, or know what was going on? At one point, the chap on 106 announced the traffic report, and mentioned Pialligo was closed… and then played “Ilano” who happily told us about all the usual roadworks. Not the closure of a major arterial at evening rush hour.