NEWCASTLE’S inner-city traffic woes have gotten worse, with new clearways and road closures coming into effect on Monday, nearly two weeks ahead of Supercars.
Tow trucks were lined up outside Newcastle Grammar near new special event clearways, which came into force at 7am along sections of Bolton, Church and Newcomen streets.
Read more: Whincup takes first look at Supercars track
Adding to existing traffic delays in the area, race organisers have closed Wharf Road near Newcastle Foreshore.
The west-bound lane of Hunter Street, between Bolton and Pacific streets, is also closed to non-residents.
The clearways and closures come ahead of further changes in the coming week.
King Street, between Bolton and Pacific streets, is one-way only from Sunday. Watt Street, between James Fletcher Hospital and Church Street, will close.
Other East End roads inside the Supercars track will close, too.
And from Wednesday, November 22, the remaining section of Wharf Road will be closed in both directions to the intersection of Argyle Street.
During the event, between November 24 and 26, all roads east of Bolton Street will close each day between 7am and 7pm.
The north-bound lanes of Stewart Avenue, between Hunter Street and Honeysuckle Drive, will also be closed to move buses at a quicker pace.
The strict special event clearways will be extended to cover major thoroughfares including King Street, Honeysuckle Drive and Auckland Street.
“Traffic is expected to be heavy on major roads approaching Newcastle including the M1 Pacific Motorway and the Pacific Hwy as large crowds travel to and from the event,” the Transport Management Centre warned on its website.
“Motorists should expect delays, carpool and allow plenty of additional travel time particularly on the Saturday and Sunday.”
The closures come at a time when sections of Hunter Street are closed for light rail construction, creating new traffic pinch points, particularly on King Street.
Businesses have reported collapsing revenues and there are calls to extend the state government’s light rail rent relief program to include Newcastle.