[Updated 7am Thursday] Two people are in the Tweed Hospital, one in a critical condition, after a multi-vehicle accident on the Pacific Highway near the Ewingsdale Road interchange yesterday.
And a subsequent accident on one of the alternative routes created gridlock on the area’s roads for most of yesterday’s peak.
The original accident occurred at the northbound entrance from Byron Bay, at a pinch-point created by the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale roadworks, where the formerly dual-lane divided highway has been reduced into a single lane in each direction facing oncoming traffic.
It involved two trucks and two cars, and for several hours it completely closed the road to traffic.
Police say that about 1.30pm yesterday (Wednesday February 19), a southbound car-carrier truck took the Byron Bay exit but the driver then decided to re-enter the highway via the Ewingsdale roundabout.
In so doing his truck crossed onto the northbound side of the road and side-swiped a cement truck.
It then collided heavily with a car, pushing it back some 50 metres and causing it, in turn, to collide with another car.
Both the driver and passenger of the first car hit were taken to the Tweed Hospital.
The 65-year-old female driver is suffering fractures and severe internal injuries and remains in a critical condition.
The 70-year-old male passenger suffered fractured ribs and severe bruising and is now in a stable condition.
Police Rescue and Brunswick Valley VRA had to free of the driver of the car carrier.
The 43-year-old male was flown to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition suffering fractured ribs and severe bruising.
Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.
No-one was injured in the second accident on Myocum Road.
Northbound traffic was initially diverted via Myocum Road but a road roller fell off the back of a truck that had taken the diversion, despite an RMS warning that it was for light vehicles only. As at 5pm a stop-go operation was underway there.
Vehicles travelling northbound were then required to use the southbound lanes of the highway north of Ewingsdale Road, while southbound traffic was diverted onto the Old Pacific Highway, rejoining the main highway at the Ewingsdale Road roundabout.
At 5.30pm Ewingsdale Road was in a virtual state of gridlock both in and out of Byron Bay.
Southbound highway traffic was banked up to Gulgan Road and northbound traffic to the top of St Helena.
As of midnight Wednesday, the highway has been flowing normally.
How did the traffic jam affect your trip home? Leave your comments at the foot of this article.