The Northern Expressway (route M2; formerly route M20), also known as the Fatchen Northern Expressway,[1][2] 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.[3]

Construction began in 2008 and the road opened on 13 September 2010.[4]

The interchanges/bridges along the expressway were all named after famous battles in which Australian forces fought, such as Long Tan, Kokoda, Tobruk, Kapyong and Hamel.

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.[1][2]

In December 2019, a Catastrophic bushfire started on the Northern Expressway at Angle Vale, This affected people in Hillier, Munno Para Downs, Kudla, Munno Para West and Gawler.

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.

Exit list

Looking south along Port Wakefield Road towards the interchange at the start of the Northern Expressway in 2010

Route and Interchange list for Northern Expressway. Distances are calculated from Gawler Bypass end of the Expressway.

LightWard Belt, Reid, Buchfelde0.00.0merges and continues as Gawler Bypass Road (A20) – Nuriootpa, Mildura, Sydney
Buchfelde, Gawler River4.12.5Long TanTwo Wells Road – Two Wells / Gawlerramps on Adelaide side only
Gawler River, Buchfelde, Angle Vale, Hillier5.03.1Gawler River
PlayfordHillier, Munno Para Downs, Angle Vale7.54.7KapyongAngle Vale Road – Angle Vale, Virginia / Evanston
Munno Para West, Andrews Farm, Angle Vale, MacDonald Park10.86.7KokodaCurtis Road – Andrews Farm / Angle Vale
Penfield Gardens, MacDonald Park, Penfield15.19.4TobrukHeaslip Road – Edinburgh
Penfield Gardens, Penfield17.310.7HamelPenfield Road – Virginiaramps on Adelaide side only
Penfield, Waterloo Corner, Virginia, Penfield Gardens18.811.7Adelaide-Port Augusta railway line
Waterloo Corner, Virginia2113 Port Wakefield Road (A1) – Adelaide; North–South MotorwaySouthbound can continue on the North–South Motorway or Port Wakefield Road. Northbound traffic can enter from the North–South Motorway or from southbound Port Wakefield Highway.

Northern Connector

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.[7] This plan involved the construction of a four-way cloverstack interchange at the Port River Expressway / South Road intersection.[8] 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.[9] There was an open day before the road opened on 7 March 2020.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b "'Fatchen' a tourist name". The Bunyip. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b "More than memory lane: Fatchen's expressway". ABC News. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  3. ^ Paul Starick (15 November 2006). "Major expressway opens up north". The Advertiser. Retrieved 15 November 2006.
  4. ^ Tom Zed, Transport reporter (13 September 2010). "Northern Expressway open for business". Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Property Location Browser". Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  6. ^ Google (22 May 2015). "Northern Expressway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Northern Connector". Infrastructure S.A. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  8. ^ "northern connector" (PDF). Infrastructure S.A. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Northern Connector Project". Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure South Australia. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Northern Connector to open to traffic and bust congestion". . 4 March 2020.