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The Impact of Construction on Traffic Flow in Sydney

June 19, 2024

You don’t need to work in the construction industry to know how much construction projects affect traffic flow. Almost all of us have been caught in a patch of construction or roadworks-related congestion at some point. If you’re a construction professional, the impact of the industry on surrounding traffic becomes an even more significant issue for you, especially in a city as busy as Sydney.

Construction is a vital part of Australia’s economy, employing almost 10 per cent of the workforce and generating more than $360 billion in annual revenue. Yet it’s also an industry full of potential hazards, including the potential for vehicle collisions. If your construction work takes place on or near a NSW road, you need to create a construction traffic management plan.

In NSW, separating workers from vehicles (including mobile plants) is part of an employer’s obligation to provide a safe workplace. As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you have a duty to keep workers safe not only from vehicles on the road but from vehicles on your own construction site, including moving plants like forklifts, excavators, trucks and Utes.

In addition to worker safety, a PCBU should focus on minimising impact on traffic flow during a construction project. A lot of things depend on it, including the safety of workers and the public, regulations and compliance, efficiency, impact on the environment, and good business practices.

With 25+ years of experience in the construction industry, SSTC has spent a lot of time reducing construction site impact on traffic flow and managing regulations and legal requirements. If you need help putting together a construction traffic management plan, we’re happy to assist you.

Here’s the SSTC guide to how construction in Sydney impacts local traffic and what steps you can take to handle it.

The Impact Construction Sites Can Have on Traffic Flow

If your construction project involves a major roadway or takes place in a heavily populated urban area, it’s more likely to cause substantial disruptions to traffic. This is why construction has such a large impact on traffic in a major city like Sydney.

The most pressing problems likely to arise include:

Traffic congestion

Traffic congestion refers to an increase in traffic leading to increased travel times and more vehicles on the road. Construction-related congestion has a range of causes, including road closures, lane closures, changes in regular routes and additional types of vehicles (e.g. construction vehicles and equipment) on the road.


All of this extra traffic and activity increases the time that drivers take to complete their regular routes, leading to significant delays.

Safety hazards

Keeping people and vehicles apart is one of your key responsibilities as a PCBU when you’re conducting construction work in an area with traffic. Steps you can take to ensure people and vehicles don’t cross paths include providing separate routes for pedestrians and vehicles, providing clearly marked pedestrian walkways or overhead walkways, installing barriers and barricades, offering clearly lit and signposted walking paths, and employing traffic controllers.

Accessibility issues

You need to consider disability access when implementing temporary measures to keep people and traffic apart. Temporary pedestrian walkways are often too narrow for wheelchair or mobility scooter users, and alternative routes are often not wheelchair accessible. When you make provisions for pedestrians and other road users, don’t forget about the ones that need extra accessibility measures in place.

Loss of reputation

Causing heavy traffic and delays is a bad look for your business, something that a well-considered approach and a proper construction traffic management plan can help to mitigate.

How to Maintain Efficient Traffic Flow around Construction Sites


Some steps you can take to reduce your construction site’s impact on traffic flow include:

Develop a comprehensive traffic management plan

A construction traffic management plan, or CTMP, is mandatory for any construction project that impacts traffic on a public road in NSW. A document that outlines the measures and procedures to be put in place during the project, it’s designed to minimise disruptions and protect the safety of the public and your workers. A CTMP must reflect the City of Sydney’s standard requirements and include details of the project, including the site location, scope of work, and hours of operation.

Work at off-peak hours

Working at night or other less busy periods rather than peak hours can help to reduce the impact on traffic and stop congestion from getting out of hand. This can include night shifts, but remember to be mindful of noise restrictions.

Keep the public informed

Let the public know about construction schedules and traffic issues, whether through social media updates, leaflets, signage, etc. The further in advance you inform them, the more time they have to make changes to their regular routes. Developers and builders should strive to maintain positive relationships with residents and businesses in the area. Being transparent and giving ample warning about your activities is one way to do this.

Construct temporary roads and accessways

Implementing new temporary roads or accessways will free up space and reduce congestion on the main routes.

Use temporary traffic signals

Sometimes, specialised equipment is required for safe and effective traffic management near construction sites. Examples include roadwork signs, concrete barriers, cones, bollards, portable traffic signals and communication devices.

Promote alternative forms of transportation

While keeping the public informed about construction schedules, suggest and promote other forms of transport such as public transportation, alternative routes or carpooling.

Monitor continuously

Keep an eye out on the traffic situation around your construction site and be ready to respond to new situations or developments as they arise. You can hire traffic controllers to direct the flow of traffic and pedestrians, which is especially beneficial if they’re also trained to respond to emergency situations. 

Effective Traffic Control Planning and Management with SSTC


If you are wondering where to begin when it comes to your traffic control management plan, start by getting in touch with SSTC.

SSTC is one of Sydney’s leading providers of construction traffic control services, with a team of highly skilled and experienced traffic control services in Sydney. We make sure all client control measures comply with the Australian Standards for Traffic Control Devices (AS1742) and local council regulations. Our services are tailored to the needs of each particular client and include state-of-the-art traffic management equipment, in-person controllers and construction traffic management plans (CTMP).

Our in-house accredited planners can help you meet all the requirements for council development approvals, building approvals and traffic management plans and permits. Our close relationship with the council, along with our 25+ combined years of experience, means we can get you results quickly.

All of our staff are fully trained and certified in traffic control and management, and we only use the latest equipment and technology to make sure our services are of the highest possible standard. Our in-house planning division lets us provide clients with comprehensive traffic control plans, construction traffic management plans, vehicle management plans and swept path diagrams. We also take the stress out of applying for permits through governing bodies like the police, STA, TMC and airport.

For more information on how we can minimise your construction site’s impact on traffic flow, contact the SSTC team for a free quote.

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