Motorists reject apology over F3 gridlock

MOTORISTS have rejected an apology over Monday's F3 gridlock debacle, saying Roads Minister David Campbell's words were not enough.

Maitland resident Pennie Teasdale said lives were put at risk.

"There was no common sense in anything that happened yesterday," she said.

"They should have put that plan [for the contra-flow system] in place straight away."

Ms Teasdale, who had her 13-year-old son, Jacob, in the car, left Sydney at 4pm and arrived home in Maitland at 11.30pm.

"When they finally let us go through, after we had been there for five hours, it just unleashed all these tired, cranky drivers on the roads," she said.

"I felt very concerned for my child's safety due to the speeds some of the frustrated drivers where doing.

"People were flying past us in the middle of the night at crazy speeds.

"They could easily have had another disaster on their hands."

Mr Campbell has blamed emergency service workers and Roads and Traffic Authority for the failure to use the $22 million contra-flow system.

"On behalf of the RTA I apologise to motorists," he said.

"What we saw yesterday was unacceptable and it's made motorists angry, I share that anger and that has been directed today at the RTA.

"The RTA will prepare a report on what went wrong, how it went wrong and what can be put in place to make sure it does not happen again."

New Lambton couple Belinda and Simon Mortimore were driving separate cars home from their holiday in Sydney on Monday, each with children in the back seats.

"I don't think the apology is acceptable," Ms Mortimore said.

"I have seen accidents cleared much more quickly from the F3 than that.

"There were people who had illnesses, I had my two-year-old son Hayden in the car with me. I left Sydney at 4pm and got home about 11pm.

"My husband was four kilometres ahead of me and missed out on the contra flow and had to travel onto the Pacific Highway and it took him until midnight to get home with our two other sons, who are five [Thomas] and eight [Marc]."

Mr Campbell said he had been told about the crash on the F3 at 1pm on Monday and had been given updates through the rest of the day.

"People thought the accident would have cleared, that turned out not to be the case," he said.

Ms Teasdale said that made little sense to her.

"Why couldn't they just use the contra flow from the beginning?" she said.

"It doesn't take a genius to work it out."

Mr Campbell said he could not guarantee the marathon gridlock would not happen again.

Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said Mr Campbell should be sacked.

But Mr Campbell said he would not quit his portfolio and had the confidence of Premier Kristina Keneally.

Ms Keneally said she would not jump to any conclusions.

"I'm angry, but I'm not going to rush in with snap judgements about what happened yesterday," she said.

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