The inland New South Wales town of West Wyalong has been turned into a ‘ghost town’ as grey nomads stop arriving due to the continued closure of a section of the Newell Highway.
With the road shut between West Wyalong and Forbes because of recent floods, many road users have been detouring to neighbouring towns … and the effect has been dramatic.
West Wyalong caravan park owner Jamie Adams says the town is ‘scarily quiet’.
“Usually around this time of year we’d expect to see 25 to 35 caravans each night but now we’re seeing just one or two,” Mr Adams told the ABC. “This is normally our busiest time of the year when we expect all the grey nomads to be heading home to Victoria from their holidays in Queensland and this is what we bank on each year … since the road closed it has cost us around $715 a day.”
Bland Shire Mayor Tony Lord said accommodation providers, restaurants and cafes had been hardest hit by the closure.
“The biggest problem is that all this wet was during the school holiday period so that stopped a lot of traffic going through,” Cr Lord told the ABC. “It’s been closed for just over two weeks and the sad part is we are not 100% sure when it is going to open.”
NSW Roads and Maritime Services has not been able to access the full extent of the damage but hoped the highway would be reopened within weeks.
“It’s referred to as the lifeline of inland New South Wales for a good reason,” said RMS Western Manager, Phil Standen. “It’s one of our major freight routes, we’re very focussed on pulling out all stops to get the road re-opened.”
· Have you changed your travel plans because if The Newell Highway closure? Have you stayed at West Wyalong before? Comment below.