Nullarbor traffic starts to ease after 12-day closure

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Eyre Highway closure
Hundreds of motorists were stranded at the remote Caiguna Roadhouse because of the bushfires. PIC: Ben Stamatovich / the Drone Way / ABC.

Some of the grey nomads and other travellers stranded when the bushfire emergency led to the closure of the Eyre Highway have finally been able to cross the Nullarbor.

The only sealed road linking Western Australia and South Australia was reopened last week after being closed for 12 days.

The ABC reports that frustrated and tired travellers were trapped on either side of the Nullarbor Plain while a bushfire burning near Norseman in Western Australia kept the route closed to all traffic.

Authorities were staggering the release of traffic to avoid congestion and had flown in extra police officers to patrol the highway. Those not in a desperate hurry to get back to work or similar were advised to wait at least a day or two to give the traffic a chance to clear itself.

The ABC spoke to visitors from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia who were caught up in the extended closures.

While some were frustrated, most praised emergency services and volunteers in the towns in which they were stranded.

Glenda Allen from Warrnambool was in stuck in Esperance for six days and said she was ‘absolutely ecstatic’ to be heading home.

The Kalgoorlie Miner said that when the 1600 kilometre highway was re-opened, caravan parks quickly became hives of activity with guests packing down in preparation for the trip home.

Wagga Wagga resident Kristen McGrath arrived at a caravan park in Boulder with 16 friends and family on the way home from a Christmas road trip in WA.

“We have just been waiting to get across the Nullarbor, to get home,” she told the paper. “It has been hard trying to keep the kids occupied, and we are supposed to be back to work on Monday. I understand why they are taking a lot of caution but we just want to get home.”

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