Moonbi fire: All lanes of New England Highway re-open north of Tamworth between Moonbi and Bendemeer; fire at advice level


All lanes of the New England Highway have now re-opened to traffic after the mammoth clean-up effort.

About 5pm, authorities opened the other lanes that had been closed, where stop/go traffic controls were in place.

Delays are expected to clear by Thursday night.


THE New England Highway has reopened between Tamworth and Bendemeer after a bushfire ripped through the area earlier this week.

Only one lane of the highway was reopened by authorities at about 3pm, with traffic controls still in place.

Live Traffic NSW said stop/slow traffic control is in place for a 2km section of the highway near Mount View Road at Moonbi.

Traffic is being moved through the single lane, but major delays are still expected for motorists.

The major thoroughfare has been closed for more than 48 hours after the Moonbi fire - which police believe was deliberately lit - was sparked on Tuesday morning.

Road blocks were put in place at Moonbi, at Charles Street, and also at the Oxley Highway intersection, at Bendemeer, on Tuesday afternoon.

It's taken more than 24 hours for crews to clear smouldering logs and remove unsafe trees, as well as assess boulders that had become unstable after the fire.

The closure has caused major traffic chaos; several surrounding roads have also been closed to motorists, because they would have been unable to cope with the extra traffic levels.

The council had initially forecast the road to re-open at noon, but the boulders had to be checked before the road could be re-opened.

"The above advice is dependent on a satisfactory geo-technical assessment that is currently being undertaken on some large rock boulders adjacent to the highway," Tamworth Regional Council emergency manger Murray Russell said earlier on Thursday.

"A number of boulders have tree roots underneath them which have burned out, which may have destabilised the rock.

"It is anticipated that once the highway is reopened by the RMS, council will also reopen Halls Creek Road and Danglemah Road to through traffic."

The closure has left trucking companies and businesses stranded, as heavy loads and goods sit idle on the road.


Meanwhile, the Thunderbolts Way has re-opened in both directions between Nowendoc and Barrington Village.

The Nowendoc Road is still closed between Nowendoc to Knorrit Flat.

The Oxley Highway remains closed between Walcha and Long Flat, but has re-opened between Long Flat and Wauchope. The road has been closed for more than two weeks.

The Gwydir Highway is still closed between Bald Nob, east of Glen Innes, and Eatonsville, west of Grafton.

Live Traffic NSW said motorists are reminded that conditions can change quickly and roads can close at short notice so follow the directions of emergency services and traffic crews on the ground.

This story All lanes of New England Highway re-open after bushfire first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.