It couldn't have happened at a worse time. A truck had broken down right in the middle of the intersection of Illaroo Road and the Princes Highway on the southbound approach to the bridge during the morning rush.
Traffic banked up first to Nowra Anglican College then back almost to Berry. Bolong Road was also a car park. Appointments were missed. People were late for work. A trip from North Nowra that normally took 10 minutes stretched out to almost an hour.
Caught in the gridlock, the frustration rose with the exhaust fumes. Getting into Nowra on Tuesday morning felt pretty much like the slow crawl through Sydney at peak hour.
Accidents happen, and so do breakdowns. But when they bring an important regional centre like Nowra to a standstill, the obvious questions are asked: why in 2019 do we not have a bypass? Why is there only one point at which we can cross the river? What happens in the event of an emergency when one breakdown causes so much gridlock?
Understandably, the bypass - or lack thereof - bounced around social media almost immediately.
Those calls for a bypass are only going to intensify over summer as Shoalhaven's population triples with holiday-makers and Nowra is burdened with ever-growing traffic.
The reality, however, is that a second crossing point over the river somewhere to the west of Nowra remains a pipe dream for motorists. Record amounts have been spent on highway upgrades north of Nowra and similar is promised for the south. A new bridge is coming but that will only funnel traffic into the town, where it will grind to a halt in busy periods. A western bypass remains as just lines on a map and millions would have to be spent just determining where it could cross the river.
In the immediate sense, Tuesday's traffic chaos demonstrated a need to better manage traffic snarls when accidents and breakdowns occur. Many motorists were left wondering why a contra flow arrangement over the northbound bridge couldn't have been initiated just to keep traffic moving while the truck was recovered.
And Shoalhaven City Council needs to get cracking on the East Nowra Sub Arterial Road planning. This will help take some of the pressure off the highway, getting motorists out to Worrigee, South Nowra and Callala, Culburra and Currarong without crawling through town.
But none of that will resolve the one river crossing chokepoint.