No one likes traffic, especially Central Coast traffic. As cities grow, significant investments need to be made towards road infrastructure, but this does not always happen.
For more than 20 years, transport has been a constant issue for many regions in NSW, including the Central Coast. Infrastructure hasn’t been able to keep up with the constant increase in population.
There is no denying that Central Coast traffic has been getting worse over the last few years. People commonly complain about long traffic queues and unbearable congestion during rush hours (8-9 am, 3-6pm).
With an average growth rate of 1% per annum and a 30,000 increase 30,000 increase in population over the past 10 years, Heading out onto the Central Coast Highways can be less than enjoyable at times.
We all want to spend less time waiting in traffic and more time doing things that matter. Want to know where not to be? Looking for an alternative route when the Pacific Highway is closed?
Keep reading to find out more about the worst Central Coast traffic hotspots.
Kincumber – Avoca Drive & Empire Bay Drive
A critical link between the Central Coast suburbs, Empire Bay Drive has long been a pinch point for motorists. The NSW Government invested millions to upgrade the intersection and to improve traffic flow and safety for road users.
The roadworks have recently finished and travel times for the 25,000 motorists travelling along Empire Bay Drive between Kerta Road and Avoca Drive each day should soon improve.
The existing roundabout has been upgraded from one lane to two lanes, new shared pathways have been implemented and the roads have been resurfaced.
Unfortunately, many say the roadworks have only fixed half the problem. Traffic is now flowing smoothly out of Kincumber, but the bottleneck as you enter Kincumber has just been moved.
Terrigal – Terrigal Drive
The situation in Terrigal is not much better… Terrigal Esplanade can get particularly busy over the weekend and during public holidays.
Terrigal is a much loved year-round hub for locals and visitors alike. Parking space is very limited, which is why the council has decided to install an additional 155 parking space sensors throughout the Terrigal CBD.
Stage 1 of traffic flow improvements is now complete and many changes have had a positive impact on general traffic. However, Terrigal Esplanade is still incredibly busy during peak hours and will continue to cause problems to motorists until stage 2 has also been completed.
Forresters Beach – Central Coast Highway
Another bottleneck favourite where two lanes become one; is in front of the Wamberal Valley Fruit shop on the Central Coast Highway.
Traffic here banks up over 300m! Particularly during peak hour on Tumbi road heading towards the Wamberal roundabout. Trust us, it is not somewhere you want to be going through during peak times.
Perhaps there would be less congestion if traffic lights replaced the busy roundabout. We won’t know until something is actually done about it. Until then, try to avoid this roundabout during peak hour.
Although it’s slim pickings with alternate routes, you can avoid some of the congestion by turning down Bellevue road. Go past Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College and enter the Central Coast Highway at Forresters Beach.
Ourimbah / Lisarow / Wyoming – Pacific Highway
This road is notorious for bumper to bumper traffic. It goes get a little better once you reach Ourimbah as there are two lanes for traffic.
The major bottleneck is in the Narara Valley Road and Pacific Highway intersection. The absence of traffic lights just makes everything so much worse.
There’s also only one lane from Gosford to Ourimbah on the Pacific Highway, which further contributes to congestion. Main peak periods are in the mornings from 8-9am and evenings from 3-6pm.
The best alternative route is the Ridgeway. However, as so many coasties use this route it can also be painfully congested at times.
Long Jetty – Central Coast Highway
Another bottleneck that’s due to two lanes forming into one, this road doesn’t benefit from its speed limit of 50km/hr.
Residents and motorists have reported numerous traffic hazards that further contribute to long traffic queues. Many shops and cafes are located on the main road don’t help the situation.
The best way to avoid the overwhelming amount of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings in the area is to turn down Shelly Beach Road and go the back way along Grandview Street.
Berkeley Vale / Tumbi – Wyong Road and Tumbi Road
Traffic also gets very congested near the Mingara and Tumbi road lights. Fortunately, the situation was improved with a major intersection update that completely changed traffic flow, proving that proper road work and infrastructure plans do carry results.
This is still a very popular intersection that has regular traffic but it seems to flow alright most of the time, meaning you shouldn’t be stuck here for too long. Avoiding popular intersections during peak hours is always a good idea though.
You can skip the Northbound traffic at the intersection in the morning by turning left onto Hansens rd, then left on Leetes Lane to Palm Valley Rd. Follow Palm Valley to the end, turn right onto Beckingham Rd and pop out at the roundabout on Wyong road. Skip the Southbound afternoon traffic by following it in reverse!
Wyong – Pacific Highway & Motorway
Now we’re getting serious. This is perhaps one of the worst (or best) examples of Central Coast traffic. Lane-merging seems to be a recurring traffic-causing factor, as you’ve probably already realised.
Most drivers choose the easy-flowing left-hand lane over the stagnate right-hand lane, causing traffic to bank up all the way back to Wyong Road. You could literally be stuck here for hours!
The Tuggerah motorway entry/exit is another traffic hotspot during peak hour traffic. Current roadworks that were projected to be completed by mid-2019 add to the overall confusion. Our guess is that this one won’t be finished any time soon. Let’s be real, what road upgrades are ever finished on time?
Blue Haven / Lakehaven – Pacific Highway
Intersections are the main culprits here too. More single lanes seal the deal: the worst of both worlds!
Look out for the area’s major intersection: the Lakehaven roundabout. Congestion here is unavoidable. There’s a big shopping centre in the area, a hospital and several schools. All increasing the amount of traffic in the area.
Brisbane Water Drive – Woy Woy
Brisbane water drive is pretty much one lane the entire way from Gosford to Woy Woy; talk about a long road! This one often causes congestion, especially if cars drive below the speed limit.
The Blackwall, Brisbane Water and Woy Woy road intersection is among the busiest in the area during peak hour. Take a detour through the backstreets and avoid busy intersections like the plague. Once you’re stuck in a traffic jam, there’s no going back.
Gosford – Central Coast Highway & Henry Parry Drive
Anyone who has ever driven in Gosford on the Central Coast knows how bad the traffic can be. Here you’ll find several schools, hospitals, TAFE, the courthouse, a shopping centre, council and the Australian Tax Office.
Car parking in Gosford is worse than it has ever been, Say long time commuters.
Henry Parry Drive and Manns Street are probably the worst traffic areas inside Gosford CBD. Things also get pretty bad around the hospital, train station and school area along Racecourse Road.
Passing through Gosford along the Central Coast highway? You’ll be relieved to find out that, although traffic does bank there, it actually moves pretty quickly.
Yes, Central Coast traffic can be pretty bad. Most of the major traffic jams occur at busy intersections along the main Central Coast roads—no surprise there! We highly recommend you take detours and avoid busy intersections or points where two lanes become one wherever possible.
Minimise travel as much as possible during weekends and peak hour. And make use of a Central Coast road map Central Coast road map to find quicker routes to take.
Google Maps can help you check traffic and congestion in real time. Ultimately, less time spent in traffic means more time to do things that matter to you!
Photo Credit: Destination NSW