Bushfires close in: A fire breaks containment lines at Williamtown on Thursday. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
Motorists on the main routes out of Sydney, the Hunter and southern highlands could continue to face long delays on Friday, after roads were cut by the bushfires that encircled the city.
Train commuters through the Blue Mountains and southern highlands were warned to expect disruptions on Friday morning, with some services suspended.
Fires cut the Hume Motorway between Milton and Mittagong at 1.20pm on Thursday, and as at 9pm the main link between Canberra and Sydney had not been re-opened.
Road closures: Motorists are advised to avoid any non-essential travel. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
The traffic delays were compounded by two truck accidents in the afternoon that closed the Illawarra Highway, the main alternative route through the area.
Sydney's link to the west, the Great Western Highway, remained open on Thursday even as fires claimed ever larger portions of the Blue Mountains. But the Transport Management Centre was urging motorists to avoid any non-essential travel, with a number of smaller roads closed. The Bells Line of Road was closed from 9.20am on Thursday, and remained shut late into the evening.
Buses were expected to replace trains between Mount Victoria and Lithgow in the Blue Mountains until at least Friday morning.
Smouldering: Burnt out cars and homes near Newnes Junction of the Bells Line of Road. Photo: Wolter Peeters
Train services were also suspended in the southern highlands between Campbelltown and Moss Vale. However, the failure of the Hume Motorway to re-open meant buses were not travelling between Picton and Moss Vale.
To Sydney's north, roads were closed around the Hunter and central coast. The Pacific Highway between Swansea and Lake Munmorah was closed as were parts of the Newcastle Link Road.