IF a reminder was needed of the perhaps unappreciated long term implications of the Bells Line road damage at Mt Tomah it was there for all to see at the weekend.
There's nothing new about traffic snarls in the Upper Mountains on Sundays but it took on new dimensions on Sunday when eastbound traffic was already gridlocked from Blackheath back to Mt Victoria School by midday then extending all the way back to near Hartley Cemetery by mid afternoon.
Traffic lights were in operation at the bottom of The Pass to regulate traffic flow on the climb to avoid further chaos if vehicles overheated.
And this was a normal weekend with nothing special to attract big crowds west of the Mountains.
But next weekend is the four day Easter break which is chaotic at the best of times, always triggering a huge traffic flow through Lithgow to and from Bells Line
This Easter the entire mass migration will be funnelled through the Great Western Highway and - well, you get the picture!
Some observers believe eastbound traffic could be banked up at times all the way to Lithgow from the pinch point at Blackheath.
The good advice is stay home at Easter or if you must have that family drive then head west. That way you might get home before Anzac Day.
STILL on our roads and events of recent history should finally have been a wake up call to our decision makers on the dire risks with having no secure road access between the west of the State and the east coast. Fires and flood rains have closed our existing highways on a semi regular basis and the latest situation on the Bells Line takes that situation to a whole new level. With the Great Western Highway the only practical route remaining it wouldn't take much to leave us totally isolated as it has done in the past with heavy snowfalls and fires. It's a situation fraught with danger.
If the authorities now don't realise the need for a commitment to the weather proof Bells Line Expressway then they'll never get the message, snowed under as they are with World Heritage and Conservation arguments that provide handy do nothing excuses.
Madness knows no bounds
ANOTHER wake up call that will probably go unheeded once again is the madness of allowing residential or industrial development anywhere in a known floodplain. With all of the flood devastation of recent days there will be a lot of tut tutting and hand wringing and pious calls for what should have been done. But once the mud clears it will be back to business as usual with a message to the developers to 'come on in boys!'.
The insurance companies will cop criticism for increasingly unaffordable premiums in flood prone areas but they can read the situation for what it is, unlike our politicians and planners.
Keepers of our past
HISTORY is a fascinating subject for it really is our past with all of its stumbles along the way that has dictated where we are today. Local history is particularly relevant. In Greater Lithgow the keepers of our past are the Family History Society and the Lithgow Library Learning Centre, both of which have accumulated enormous resources.
But now the Family History group needs some enthusiastic new membership after having the ranks depleted by natural attrition. The organisation is the successor to what was previously Lithgow Historical Society. Check them out and be surprised at just how fascinating and informative involvement can be.
During the current COVID restrictions you can drop in at the centre at the intersection of Tank and Donald Streets between 1pm and 4pm Fridays. You may well be happy that you did.
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