‘Year of traffic jams’ for Sydney airport

Massive queues have formed at Sydney Domestic Airport this morning due to road works in the area. Picture: Supplied
Massive queues have formed at Sydney Domestic Airport. Picture: Supplied

A huge traffic jam that developed at Sydney Domestic airport on Friday morning has been labelled the ‘tip of the iceberg,’ with commuters expected to brace for a year of delays.

Frustrated travellers were left to abandon their cars and run to catch flights after roadworks left only one exit lane open from 10pm on Thursday.

The major works are part of Transport NSW’s ambitious $2.6bn Sydney Gateway Project to improve key access points in the airport precinct and connections to the St Peters Interchange, M5 and Eastern Distributor across five kilometres of toll-free new roads.

However with the completion date set for December 2024 future delays can be expected throughout the next year, despite reassurance from Transport NSW that upgrades will only take place at night and not during peak hours.

On Friday morning angry passengers took to social media and questioned whyonly one exit lane had been left open, causing a backlog of cars at the entry ramps.

“Sydney Airport you can’t be serious!!!!! The congestion around the airport is outrageous, people are missing their flights. Abandoning cars and getting out to try and walk. You can’t be serious!,” one person wrote at 5am.

Massive queues have formed at Sydney Domestic Airport this morning due to road works in the area. Picture: Supplied
Massive queues formed at Sydney Domestic Airport on Friday morning due to roadworks in the area. Picture: Supplied

“Sydney airport your traffic logistics with the construction is a bloody joke. The amount of people that have had to jump out of moving cars with their luggage, walk on the road and then follow the most indirect route to the terminal to then miss their flight is ridiculous,” another person posted.

Hours after the single lane was forged the late-finishing project, which wrapped up at 5.30am, further added to existing queues along Qantas Drive, Joyce Drive and O’Riordan St.

Outraged travellers posted their taxi bills to social media as they waited to leave the airport.

“What’s with only one exit lane after 10pm? Flights are regularly delayed. I have been sitting in a taxi for 30 mins and have moved barely 50 meters. What a joke,” one woman commented close to midnight.

Frustrated travellers took to social media to share their taxi fares as they waited to leave the airport.
Frustrated travellers shared their taxi fares as they were stuck in traffic. Twitter.

“They funnel all the lanes into one and the best part is when you get to the lights nobody is doing anything at all in the closed lanes …$120 cab fare to get to Kingsford last night because of this,” a second person commented.

“WHY did you make one exit lane causing all this congestion!!!!,” another person tagged Sydney airport.

Transport for NSW blamed a signal fault for the problem on Friday on O’Riordan St.

“Work was completed by 4.30am but due to a signal fault, the traffic lights were not able to be turned back on. Traffic management continued until the power was restored at 5.05am,” it said in a statement.

“Once the traffic lights were restored, most traffic had cleared by 5.13am and traffic management had cleared the site with the completion of work at 5.20am.

“Transport for NSW Network Operations team and the Sydney Gateway project are working closely to ensure potential future light signal failures like this are avoided.”

Former Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance discusses the future of the Sydney Gateway Project in November 2020. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Sydney Gateway will continue to work across the Airport Precinct, until completion of the project in late 2024.

Many frustrated travellers argued that Sydney needed another major airport instead, as construction on the Western Sydney Airport is currently underway to begin operations in 2026.

“This (traffic) might look different when the second airport starts up,” one hopeful poster wrote.

The latest change in the airport precinct will involve the opening of a new access ramp via Qantas Drive from 5am on Sunday 12th November.

Commuters have been advised to exercise caution and check signage as the eastbound right turn from Qantas Dr into Sir Reginald Ansett Dr will no longer be available.