THE Strzelecki Highway near Mossvale Park was thrown into chaos on Sunday morning when hundreds of cars parked on the roadside in a situation that has been described by local police as completely dangerous.
The drama began to unfold shortly before 9am when the inaugural ‘Mossvale Market’ opened.
With limited car parking within the park quickly filling up with huge crowds, market goers began parking their vehicles on the edge of the highway in both directions.
Hundreds of cars lined the road, stretching from Forresters Road to the Wooreen-Mirboo Road intersections.
Large numbers of people including young children then walked along the highway toward the market.
Leongatha Police Sergeant Dale McCahon said they were made aware of the unfolding situation, but by the time they arrived, it was too late.
“It was totally unsatisfactory,” Sgt McCahon said.
“It was definitely unsafe. We went out and took over the traffic control at the intersection and tried to make it as safe as we could.”
Sgt McCahon said not only was parking on the side of the highway unsafe, a large majority or the cars were illegally parked.
“You cannot park where there are double lines,” he said.
“Some were parked along dotted lines, but a lot were illegally parked.
“We couldn’t go along and book 300 cars, it was more about making the best out of a bad situation and making it as safe as we could.”
It is thought the organisers had planned to open up adjoining paddocks, but for reasons outside their control, they were unable to.
They are believed to be working with council to ensure the same issues do not arise ahead of the next scheduled market in January.
Despite the drama, the organisers have described the day as an “overwhelming success”.
Nicky Cawood and Kerrie-Ann Garlick said after six months of hard work to create something unique and exciting for South Gippsland, the market was exactly what they envisaged.
“Everyone was happy, the people that turned up, the stallholders, the volunteers.
“It was so great to see so much support.
“Seed Folk are really proud of their very first event and they are working on better traffic flow, parking, food vendors and of course coffee,” they said.
“We had the support of the police who came in to ease the traffic congestion and pedestrians along Strzelecki Highway for public safety.
“Seed Folk want to put out a really big thanks to the police for their help, but also for those people that remained calm, patient and supportive throughout.”
Highway chaos at new Mossvale market