HUNTER Street – the city’s beating heart – is a ghost town as light rail works began in earnest on Tuesday.
Newcastle’s main street, between Auckland Street and Darby streets, was closed about 5am, with east-bound traffic diverted down Auckland Street.
There were reports of traffic chaos on King Street as it grappled with the increased volume of traffic.
And plenty of motorists were caught off guard west of Auckland Street, as traffic banked back following the road closure.
According to the state government, the work on that section of Hunter Street is expected to be complete by the end of the year, dependent on weather.
Hunter Street will be progressively closed, block by block, as work along the light rail route continues.
It comes as city buses were diverted onto either King Street or Honeysuckle Drive on Sunday.
The Hunter Business Chamber has previously warned Hunter Street retailers face a difficult few years as the disruption impacts on foot traffic and trade.