Broken down cherry picker at the centre of traffic bedlam at Hexham

A broken down cherry picker is at the centre of the hours of traffic bedlam at Hexham on Thursday.

A notice for overnight works, which closed the southbound bridge between 7pm on Wednesday and 5am Thursday was issued last week, but when it came time to re-open the elevated works platform suffered an electrical failure.

It meant the bridge was forced to remain closed, with building traffic from all approaches being funneled in one lane in each direction across the northbound bridge and in the proceeding hours the situation turned into chaos.

As peak hour traffic began to swell in all directions, motorists were forced to spend upwards of two hours during their commutes.

Traffic was then further exacerbated by a six car pile up at Fern Bay and another accident at Williamtown, which caused delays on Nelson Bay Road, trapping motorists attempting to avoid Hexham.