Motorists 'pull a swifty' to beat traffic congestion

Traffic queues around the Villiers St roundabout after 3pm in Grafton.
Traffic queues around the Villiers St roundabout after 3pm in Grafton. Adam Hourigan

HAVE you "pulled a swifty" to jump the queue to cross Grafton Bridge lately?

Technically a legal act, the crafty 450 degree manoeuvre is one of several attracting the ire of fellow motorists using the Villiers and Fitzroy Sts roundabout.

It involves southbound vehicles approaching the roundabout from the right lane of Villiers St who indicate to turn right, and continue to turn another 180 degrees to join the bridge- bound Fitzroy St traffic, wiping several minutes off the trip in one swift move.

It's a tricky predicament, especially for those who turn right from Pound St into Villiers St and cannot merge into the already backed up left lane to make an ordinary left turn. Motorists in the left lane are allowed to turn left or continue straight. Those in the right lane can either continue straight or turn right.



On Wednesday afternoon The Daily Examiner counted the incidence of "swifties" in two 10-minute periods. Eight "swifties" were pulled at 4pm and 20 at 5pm. Just two cars went straight ahead at 4pm and only one at 5pm.

Furthermore, two cars were observed turning left from the right lane of Villiers St at 4pm and four at 5pm. Others completed a 360 turn after entering the roundabout from the east in Fitzroy St, presumably having earlier turned left from Clarence St next to KFC.

"Both Villiers St lanes should be left turn lanes at peak times," Susan Moar suggested on The Daily Examiner's Facebook page.


Traffic queues around the Villiers St roundabout after 3pm in Grafton.
Traffic queues around the Villiers St roundabout after 3pm in Grafton. Adam Hourigan

Traffic congestion is definitely a talking point in Grafton, with one discussion thread attracting 92 comments, many claiming the morning and afternoon peak periods are lasting longer, and are worse, than ever.

"Haven't lived in Grafton for years and was amazed at the traffic back ups," Wendy Gilmore said.

In the same forum Keltie Foster was adamant Grafton traffic congestion issues "simply won't be resolved until there is a second bridge", which is due for completion in 2019.

However, the NSW Roads and Maritime Services is currently looking into the matter.

"We're in the early stages of monitoring and collecting data, which will be carried out by traffic counters and observations," an RMS spokesman said.

"Once that data is collected we will engage with stakeholders including council, police and the wider community as work progresses.

"Obviously this is only a short term proposal because in the longer term the second crossing is being built.

"When the data is collected and we know what sort of issues have been identified we will continue to liaise with the council.

"The RMS will have more to say in the coming weeks."

Are traffic jams in Grafton worse than ever?

Here are some of the comments in the quesiton on The Daily Examiner's Facebook page:

Chris Blanchard: Travelling up right hand lane of Villiers St and performing a "270" to approach bridge needs to stop as these people block the roundabout for those coming off the bridge and turning right into Villiers St.

Scott Campbell: They are actually doing a 450.

Snash Lee: Sometimes you have no other choice though. For example., coming down past the back of Big W (Pound St) to turn right at roundabout, naturally in right lane already... left lane choc-a-bloc with no chance of getting over at all.

Susan Moar: I think both Villiers St lanes should be left turn lanes at peak times.

Paul Hewitt: Nothing wrong with the 270, it's legal. The real hassle is those blocking the through traffic on all sides and it jams.

Mat Whitton: It's nearly at the point of the police coming down and doing traffic control.

Bianca Claydon: Definitely needs traffic lights.

Keltie Foster: What ever direction they come from, they all end up becoming congested at the bridge. It simply won't be resolved until there is a second bridge.

Mark Lowe: Seems worse than normal. But sit back, turn up the stereo and chill.

Lisa Salter: If parents made their kids utilise the school bus system rather than picking kids up from school it would reduce the traffic significantly.

Kez Eggins: Traffic was only like this for July race day and Jacaranda Saturday after the floats. Now it's Monday to Friday! I have to feel for our emergency services if they are called out during this peak time. It could cost lives with the delays involved.

Nigel Blake: It was international ride to work day today. I had a clear run crossing the river at peak time in both directions. I was probably quicker to work than everyone in their cars. Just saying.

Karleen Murray: Maybe the council should make a no right turn from Villiers St into Fitzroy St between the hours of 3-5pm Monday to Friday.

Wendy Gilmore: Got caught both ways today.... Haven't lived in Grafton for years and was amazed at the traffic back ups.

James Patterson: There are an increased number of double soil tippers using the bridge recently, adding to the normal issues.

Laley Rae Reti: So much worse! Thank god for Southgate Rd and Ulmarra Ferry!

Fiona Evans: Temporary portable traffic lights a must and no trucks 8-10 and 2-4.

Joanne Campbell Baxter: Please install traffic lights at this spot and on the big Bent St roundabout.

Jenny M Pearson: Notice a lot of truck and dogs on the bridge lately.

Ian Reid: Will get a lot worse when the new bridge is opened, because the new bridge is in the stupidist of places. It does not divert any traffic around the town. The big trucks will still come through the town. The bridge should have been down the highway somewhere near north street.

Topics:  fitzroy st grafton bridge rms roundabout traffic congestion

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