The Northern Expressway (route M2; formerly route M20), also known as the Fatchen Northern Expressway, is a 23 kilometre long controlled-access highway in Adelaide, South Australia. It travels from Gawler (on National Highway A20, the Sturt Highway) to Port Wakefield Road (on National Highway A1). The road has been built to four-lane standard and provides a faster route between Adelaide and Gawler, whilst reducing the amount of traffic on Main North Road, which passes through the heart of the northern suburbs and is interspersed with frequent traffic lights. It also allows freight vehicles to avoid residential areas and go straight to Port Wakefield Road. Since March 2020, the North–South Motorway continues west of Port Wakefield Road and intersects the Port River Expressway (A9) to reach the harbour at Port Adelaide. These are the northernmost two parts of the North–South Corridor.
Cycling is not permitted on the Expressway. The Stuart O'Grady Bikeway is a sealed shared cycling and walking path adjacent to the eastern side of the expressway. The northern end connects to the on-ramp from Two Wells Road to the Gawler Bypass Road, and the southern end is adjacent to Port Wakefield Road at Mill Road.
The largest road project undertaken in South Australia in at least sixty years, the expressway was delivered at a cost of approximately A$564 million jointly funded by the South Australian and Commonwealth Governments. The Design and Construct contract was awarded to the Fulton Hogan York Joint Venture, a partnership between trans-Tasman contractor Fulton Hogan and South Australian based York Civil. The design joint venture, managed by Fulton Hogan York Joint Venture consisted of Maunsell, SMEC and Dare Sutton Clark. The work included an 8 km upgrade of the existing Port Wakefield Road. Part of the cost was covered by the AusLink national transport funding.
Construction began in 2008 and the road opened on 13 September 2010.
In November 2013, one year after the death of prominent South Australian author and journalist Max Fatchen, the Northern Expressway was given the dual name "Fatchen Northern Expressway" in his honour.
In February 2020, the on ramp from northbound on Port Wakefield Road was permanently closed. Three weeks later, the Northern Connector project was opened, continuing the freeway south from the Northern Expressway as the North–South Motorway.
Route and Interchange list for Northern Expressway. Distances are calculated from Gawler Bypass end of the Expressway.
In early 2008, the South Australian Government announced plans for the Northern Connector, an eight lane connector roadway, linking the Northern Expressway and South Road. This plan involved the construction of a four-way cloverstack interchange at the Port River Expressway / South Road intersection. This project was also proposed to include a major diversion in the main ARTC interstate rail line, which would run down the middle of the new connector freeway between Dry Creek, South Australia and Taylors Road at Waterloo Corner.
The funding for the road (three lanes each way) and shared path components was announced in September 2015, with construction started in late 2016. There was an open day before the road opened on 7 March 2020.
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