Taylor Swift and Blink-182 fans, Mardi Gras attendees warned of major traffic works planned for major weekend in Sydney

Hundreds of thousands of people will attend concerts for Taylor Swift and Blink-182, and a Mardi Gras party at Bondi in Sydney over the coming days.

But major traffic works have also been planned for the biggest entertainment weekend in the city this year.

Four lanes on the Sydney Harbour Bridge will shut down just as Taylor Swift’s Friday show for The Ears Tour is set to finish up, with those works set to continue until next Thursday.

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Essential track work will also slow down commuters and impact the Central Coast and Newcastle Line from Friday afternoon to Monday night.

Here is everything you need to know about the major upcoming events in Sydney, and the traffic disruptions to be aware of.

Sydney’s major upcoming events

Taylor Swift’s The Ears Tour concerts in Sydney

Pop icon Taylor Swift will kick off the first of her four Sydney tour dates on Friday, and perform again on Saturday, Sunday and Monday with gates opening at 4.30pm each day, and the concerts expected to finish up about 11pm.

Crowds of Swifties who were unable to score tickets are also expected to attend, and sing along from outside the sold-out Accor Stadium at Olympic Park — an act known among fans as “Taylor-gating” — despite being discouraged to do so.

Blink-182 Australian and New Zealand Tour concerts in Sydney

A one-minute walk from Accor Stadium, legendary punk rock band Blink-182 will be performing three shows at the Qudos Bank Stadium, also in the Olympic Park precinct.

Doors will open at 6.45pm for the band’s support act Rise Against an hour later, and the three concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are also expected to finish up about 11pm.

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Bondi Beach Party

Further east, on Bondi Beach, the biggest party for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras festival will draw about 15,000 people to the already popular beach.

The event kicks off from 2pm on Saturday and runs until 10pm, and event parking restrictions will be in place on nearby roads.

Major traffic works planned

Sydney Harbour Bridge closures

The Sydney Harbor Bridge will close various combinations of lanes at various times while a temporary elevated work space is installed on the bridge arch.

Motorists can use open lanes on the Sydney Harbour Bridge or drive through the Sydney Harbour Tunnel as an alternative route while closures are in place.

Here are the various lane closures and timeframes to be aware of throughout February:

  • Friday 23: Two northbound and two southbound lanes open from 11pm – 6am
  • Saturday 24: Four northbound and one southbound lane open from 11pm -7am
  • Sunday 25: No lane closures
  • Monday 26: Two northbound and one southbound lane open from 10pm – 4.30am
  • Tuesday 27: Lane closures from 10pm – 4.30am
  • Wednesday 28: Lane closures from 10pm – 4.30am
  • Thursday 29: Lane closures from 11pm – 4.30am

One southbound lane of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel will also close from 10pm to 6am on Friday 23, but motorists can use the other southbound lane or drive over the Sydney Harbour Bridge during this time, Transport NSW advised.

Essential track work

Rail repair plan track work will mainly impact the Central Coast and Newcastle Line from 1.20pm on Friday, throughout the weekend and all day on Monday.

About 828 workers will be repairing five high-priority defects during that time.

“The track work affecting the rail line this weekend is due to urgent, safety-critical repair and maintenance work to a number of bridges that are vital for rail freight services, and unfortunately could not be done another time,” Transport NSW said.

It called the clash between the critical track work and the sold-out concerts ”unavoidable and inevitable”, but said extensive planning should help commuters get to their destination in time.

How to navigate the traffic chaos

For concertgoers at Olympic Park

An extra 1200 trains and buses will be running from Friday to Monday.

“We will have more than 550 additional high-frequency trains and 700 major event buses servicing the (Olympic Park) precinct across the four nights on top of regular services,” Transport NSW Coordinator General Howard Collins said.

He called public transport is the best way to get to the precinct this weekend.

For Swifties with a ticket, simply show it to the driver for a free trip.

“Plan ahead and arrive early so you don’t miss a second of the performance,” Collins said.

“And unless you have secured a pre-booked parking space, please leave the car at home.

“Anyone dropping off fans should arrive early to avoid getting stuck in traffic and potentially missing the start of the show.”

For commuters on lines impacted by track work

Commuters can catch one of 12 coaches, which will replace trains between Newcastle Interchange and Wyong on an “as directed”, rolling timetable connecting to rail services.

On Saturday and Sunday, buses will replace trains between Bomaderry, Kiama and Wollongong.

“Additional staff will be on the ground to direct bus movements and assist passengers,” Transport NSW said.

For the 500 Swifties expected to be travelling up from the Hunter and Upper Central Coast, according to ticket sale postcode data, Transport NSW advised heading into the city early.

“Some Hunter Line passengers travelling to Central Coast and Newcastle Line stations will need to catch an earlier service to ensure they arrive at their destination on time,” Transport NSW said.

“Trains will continue to run between Port Kembla, Wollongong and Central or Bondi Junction.”

The stopping patterns and timetables for some trains may be changed over the weekend, so passengers may need to change trains and are encouraged to allow extra travel time and plan ahead.

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