The Princes Highway is a major road in Australia, extending from Sydney to Adelaide via the coast through the states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It has a length of 1,941 kilometres (1,206 mi) (along Highway 1) or 1,898 kilometres (1,179 mi) via the former alignments of the highway, although these routes are slower and connections to the bypassed sections of the original route are poor in many cases.
The highway follows the coastline for most of its length, and thus takes quite an indirect and lengthy route. For example, it is 1,040 kilometres (650 mi) from Sydney to Melbourne on Highway 1 as opposed to 870 kilometres (540 mi) on the more direct Hume Highway (National Highway 31), and 915 kilometres (569 mi) from Melbourne to Adelaide compared to 730 kilometres (450 mi) on the Western and Dukes Highways (National Highway 8). Because of the rural nature and lower traffic volumes over much of its length, the Princes Highway is a more scenic and leisurely route than the main highways between these major cities.
Sections of the Princes Highway have different route allocations. These allocations, from its northern terminus in Sydney to its western terminus in Glen Osmond (Adelaide suburb), are:
|Road name(s)||Start point||End point||Distance||Cumulative
|A36||City Road; King Street; Princes Highway||Broadway||Junction with President Avenue, Kogarah||11.3||7.0||11.3||7.0|||
|A1||Princes Highway||Junction with President Avenue, Kogarah||South of Waterfall, with exit as the Princes Highway to Helensburgh||27.8||17.3||39.1||24.3|||
|undesignated||Princes Highway (superseded route)||South of Waterfall||Maddens Plains||20.9||13.0||60||37|||
|B65||Princes Highway (superseded route)||Junction with Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul||Junction with Memorial Drive, Bulli||2.9||1.8||62.9||39.1|||
|undesignated||Princes Highway (superseded route)||Junction with Memorial Drive, Bulli||Haywards Bay||33.6||20.9||96.5||60.0|||
|M1||Princes Motorway||South of Waterfall||North of Albion Park Rail; junction with the Illawarra Highway||55.3||34.4||94.4||58.7|||
|A1||Princes Highway||North of Albion Park Rail||Black-Allan Line, NSW/Victorian border||422||262||516.4||320.9|||
|A1||Princes Highway||Victorian/NSW border||Traralgon|
|A1||Princes Highway||Geelong||Victorian/South Australian border|
|A1||Princes Highway||South Australian/Victorian border||Mount Gambier|
|B1||Princes Highway||Mount Gambier||Tailem Bend|
|A1||Princes Highway||Tailem Bend||Murray Bridge|
|M1||South Eastern Freeway/Princes Highway||Murray Bridge||Glen Osmond|
In 2013, New South Wales introduced a new alphanumeric route numbering system, replacing the former system of national and state routes. The Princes Highway formerly entered Wollongong as State Route 60 down the Bulli Pass and ran a largely separate route from Bulli and Thirroul through to the southern suburbs from the parallel Princes Motorway, the latter of which bears the 'M1' route designation. The gazetted route of the Princes Highway differs from the route of State Route 60 (and from that shown on road signs). The gazetted route was designated State Route 60 for its length, but deviated from the road that is signposted as the Princes Highway between Bellambi and North Wollongong (part of Memorial Drive).
The section of the Princes Highway between West Helensburgh and Bulli Tops the original coastal route between Sydney and Wollongong, first used in 1843. From Bulli Tops this route continued south along today's Mount Ousley Road as far south as Mount Keira Road, and then followed Mount Keira Road around the west of Mount Keira. This route replaced the inland route from Sydney via Liverpool, Campbelltown, Appin to Bulli Tops.
The Princes Highway as a named route came into being when pre-existing roads were renamed ‘Prince's Highway’ after the visit to Australia in 1920 of the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VIII and, after abdicating, the Duke of Windsor).
The original submissions in January 1920 were in order for the Prince to have the opportunity during his visit to make the trip from Melbourne to Sydney overland along the route. Different routes were considered, including the inland route via Yass. This idea never came to fruition, due partly to the limited amount of time and the cost to construct the road to a suitable standard for him to undertake the trip. The Prince did, however, give his permission for the naming.
The highway had opening ceremonies in both New South Wales and Victoria during 1920. The first section of road from Melbourne was opened on 10 August in Warragul. The road from Sydney was opened on 19 October in Bulli, by the NSW Minister for Local Government, Thomas Mutch.
The approval was given by the Victorian executive to extend the highway west from Melbourne through Geelong, Camperdown, Warrnambool and Portland to the South Australian border in January 1922. The roads were renamed by the South Australian government from Adelaide east to the South Australian border in February 1922. At that time, the route from Adelaide was via Aldgate, Mylor, Macclesfield, Strathalbyn, Langhorne Creek, crossing the Murray River at Wellington, then continuing along the present towns of Meningie, Kingston SE, Robe, Beachport, Millicent and Gambier Town (Mount Gambier).
By 1928, the route went through Mount Barker and Wistow to Langhorne Creek. By 1935, the Princes Highway passed through Nairne and Kanmantoo, Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend (now known as the Old Princes Highway). This road was superseded by the South Eastern Freeway (Crafers-Murray Bridge in stages 1967–1979), Swanport Bridge (1979) and finally the South Eastern Freeway was extended from Crafers to Glen Osmond (2000). The section between Kingston SE and Millicent has also been replaced by a more direct inland route. The coastal route through Robe and Beachport is now route B101, the Southern Ports Highway.
In August 2011, the stretch of the highway in South Australia between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta (commonly referred to as "Highway 1") was renamed Augusta Highway as part of a process to standardise the rural property addressing system across the state.
Timeline of significant upgrades and bypasses
|1959–1963||North–South Motorway (Princes Motorway)||NSW||From North Wollongong to West Wollongong, the Motorway was opened in stages, replacing Princes Highway as main north-south route|||
|1961||Maltby By-pass Road (Werribee bypass)||VIC||10.5||6.5||A£950,000||Opened on 16 June 1961 by the Hon. Sir Thomas Maltby , Minister of Public Works, the route was named the ‘Maltby By-pass Road’ by then Premier of Victoria, Henry Bolte . It was Victoria's first controlled-access highway, or ‘freeway’, as such roads are now generally known in Victoria. ‘It is a 4-lane divided highway, 6.5 miles in route length, with no access from adjoining property or cross roads over its entire length’.|||
|1964||Connector road||NSW||The road, from Mount Ousley Road to the North–South Motorway at Gwynneville, was opened to traffic.|||
|1967||Princes Highway East, near Mount Drummer||VIC||8.9||5.5||A ceremony, sponsored by Orbost Shire Council, at Genoa, was held on 17 January 1967.|||
|1967||South Eastern Freeway (Stage 1)||SA||Bypassed Crafers and Stirling.|||
|1969||Moe bypass||VIC||6.1||3.8||‘A single 24 ft. Carriageway has been provided, with earthworks and grade separated structures which can accommodate future duplicate pavements’.|||
|1972||Haunted Hills section||VIC||4.2||2.6||Second carriageway opened between Gunn's Gully and Hernes Oak.|||
|1973||Road duplication||VIC||6.4||4||Dual carriageway from East Warrnambool to Allansford.|||
|1975||NSW||Princes Highway from Waterfall to Bulli Tops, superseded by the opening of Southern Freeway.|||
|1976||Snowy River Bridge, Princes Freeway, Orbost||VIC||8.4||5.2||A$2.4 million||Opened by the Hon. J A Rafferty, Minister for Transport, 25 November 1976. The bridge was the first of four bridges to be built as part of the freeway bypass of Orbost.
It's interesting to note the reference to a ‘freeway’, given that the entire bypass is a single two-lane carriageway and is not controlled access. The CRB's own definition of a freeway can be found in most of their annual reports dating back to the 1960s: ‘A freeway is a road having dual carriageways with no direct access from adjoining properties and side roads. All crossings of a freeway are by means of overpass or underpass bridges, and traffic enters or leaves the freeway carriageways by means of carefully designed ramps’.
|1979||Swanport Bridge||SA||Completed the South Eastern Freeway to bypass Murray Bridge.|||
|1981||Drouin bypass||VIC||7||4.3||A$12 million||From Robin Hood to the ‘existing’ highway east of Drouin, with ‘two lanes each direction, plus emergency stopping lanes’. Opened 12 February 1981, by the Hon. J C M Balfour, MP.|||
|1983||Berwick bypass||VIC||7.3||4.5||A$19.6 million||Opened on 14 December 1983 by the Federal Minister for Transport, the Hon. Peter Morris MP, and the Victorian Assistant Minister of Transport, the Hon. Jack Simpson MP. This road bypass was from the Princes Highway, near Hessle Road, to Pink Hill, Beaconsfield.|||
|1987||Road duplication||VIC||9||5.6||A$16 million||Nar Nar Goon to Garfield duplication opened 10 April 1987.|||
|1989||Road duplication||VIC||Garfield to Bunyip River duplication completed in June 1989.|||
|1992||Morwell bypass||VIC||Bypass opened to traffic in April 1992.|||
|1994||Longwarry section duplication||VIC||7.8||4.8||A$25 million||Duplication completed between Bunyip River and Robin Hood in January 1994.|||
|1995||Road duplication||VIC||Duplicated section between Trafalgar East to Moe opened in August 1995.|||
|1997||Road duplication||VIC||7||4.3||Yarragon to Trafalgar duplication opened to traffic on 2 May 1997, completing a dual carriageway highway from Melbourne to Traralgon.|||
|2000||Heysen Tunnels||SA||The tunnel replaced Mount Barker Road (through Eagle On The Hill), extending the Adelaide end of South Eastern Freeway from Crafers to Glen Osmond.|||
|2002||Oak Flats Interchange||NSW||The project was opened on 29 October 2001. The interchange was designed to significantly improve traffic flow around the Albion Park/Oak Flats section of the Princes Highway by removing a railway level crossing and nearby traffic signals. ‘The interchange also connects with Shellharbour City Council's East-West Link Road’.|||
|2002||Geelong Road upgrade||VIC||Upgrades completed from the West Gate Bridge to Lara. The Hoppers Crossing to Corio section was widened from two lanes to three in each direction, improvements to interchanges and flood management were made, and central wire rope barriers were installed. The speed limit between Werribee and Corio was decreased from 110 km/h to 100 km/h.|||
|2005||Kiama bypass||NSW||A$179 million||Opened to traffic on 28 November 2005. The North Kiama Bypass linked the Kiama Bypass in the south and the Princes Highway near Dunmore in the north.|||
|2007||Pakenham bypass||VIC||20||12||A$242 million||Opened to traffic in December 2007, funded jointly by the state and federal governments.|||
|2008||Geelong Ring Road||VIC||Corio to Hamilton Highway, Fyansford opened 14 December 2008.|||
|2009||Geelong Ring Road||VIC||A$380 million||Hamilton Highway, Fyansford to Waurn Ponds opened 14 June 2009, six months ahead of schedule. The project from Corio to Waurn Ponds was funded jointly by the state and federal governments.|||
|2009||Road duplication||NSW||A$108 million||Oak Flats to Dunmore dual carriageways opened to traffic in October 2009, completing a four-lane route between Sydney and south of Kiama.|||
|2013||Geelong Ring Road||VIC||Anglesea Road to Princes Highway opened to traffic in February 2013.|||
|2013||Road duplication||VIC||4||2.5||Wurruk to Sale duplication opened June 2013.|||
|2015||Road duplication||VIC||30||19||From Waurn Ponds to Winchelsea.|||
|Bulli Pass upgrade||1.1||0.68||In progress|||
|Albion Park bypass||9.8||6.1||November 2018||$630 million||In planning|||
|Oak Flats to Dunmore upgrade||June 2007||October 2009||$108 million||Complete|||
|North Kiama bypass||7.6||4.7||November 2003||October 2005||$141 million||Complete|||
|Kiama On and Off Ramps (Northbound and Southbound)||2008/2009||$8 million||Complete|||
|Gerringong upgrade||7.5||4.7||July 2012||August 2015||$340 million||Complete|||
|Foxground and Berry bypass||11.6||7.2||January 2015||June 2017||$580 million||Complete|||
|Berry to Bomaderry upgrade||11.5||7.1||September 2018||2022 (estimated)||In progress|||
|Nowra Bridge study (southbound)||In planning|||
|South Nowra upgrade – Kingorne Street to Forest Road||6.3||3.9||November 2011||March 2014||$62 million||Complete|||
|Forest Road to Jervis Bay Road||23.5||14.6||December 2008||$23.5 million||Complete|||
|Conjola Mountain realignment||2.3||1.4||September 2008||April 2010||$58 million||Complete|||
|Burrill Lake Bridge replacement||Early 2018||$58 million||Complete|||
|Termeil Creek realignment||1.6||0.99||February 2015||Mid 2016||$21 million||Complete|||
|Nangudga Bridge replacement||December 2011||$3.7 million||Complete|||
|Victoria Creek upgrade||3.2||2.0||June 2011||March 2013||$35 million||Complete|||
|Dignams Creek upgrade||2.0||1.2||Early 2017||April 2019||$45 million||Complete|||
|Bega bypass||3.6||2.2||June 2012||December 2013||$55 million||Complete|||
|Pambula River Bridge replacement||3.5||2.2||August 2006||March 2008||$17 million||Complete|||
New South Wales
The Princes Highway starts at the junction of Broadway (Great Western Highway) and City Road in the Sydney suburb of Chippendale. City Road in fact forms the first section of the highway, and becomes King Street, Newtown, also part of the Princes Highway. Where King Street ends at Sydney Park Road, the Princes Highway continues in its own right.
The highway in this section is constructed as a six-lane divided carriageway, other than along King Street (four-lane undivided) and along the western edge of the Royal National Park, where it is built as four-lane dual carriageway.. The only major engineering structures along its route are the twin Tom Uglys Bridge across Georges River. The northbound bridge is of steel truss construction, opened in 1929, whilst the southbound bridge is of prestressed concrete girders, opened in 1987.
South of Waterfall the highway is paralleled by the 55-kilometre (34 mi) Princes Motorway (national route M1) to the top of Bulli Pass outside the city of Wollongong, which carries the majority of traffic. The Princes Highway then enters the northern suburbs of Wollongong and the Illawarra region via the Bulli Pass, whilst Mount Ousley Road, which is designated as part of national route 1, bypasses Wollongong's northern suburbs to meet the Princes Highway at Fairy Meadow, and carries inter-city traffic. Where Mount Ousley Road enters Wollongong, the Princes Motorway branches off Mount Ousley Road, and parallels the highway through the suburbs of Wollongong to Yallah. The Mount Ousley Road-Princes Motorway route is the inter-city and main urban arterial through Wollongong's southern suburbs, whereas the Princes Highway acts as a local arterial.
From the southern end of the Princes Motorway at Yallah, the Princes Highway is dual carriageway, mostly to freeway standard, to Kiama Heights, with the exception of the 3-kilometre (2 mi) section from the Illawarra Highway to Tongarra Road in Albion Park Rail, which is four lane undivided. Beyond Kiama Heights, 120 kilometres (75 mi) south of Sydney, the highway is single two lane carriageway to Cambewarra Road, Bomaderry. Design and preparation works are underway[when?] for the duplication of the highway from Kiama Heights to Cambewarra Road. This duplication is intended to include a bypass of Berry, but adheres to the extremely hilly route from the southern end of the Gerringong bypass to Berry, rather than the flat terrain immediately to the east, which the Illawarra railway line follows.
From Cambewarra Road the highway is four lane divided through Bomaderry and Nowra to near the junction with Warra Warra Road in South Nowra. Duplication to dual carriageway standard of a 6-kilometre (4 mi) length south from here to Forest Road was scheduled for completion in early 2014, following a three-month cessation of work while measures were put in place to protect a hitherto unknown area of habitat of the endangered green and golden bell frog. Beyond this section is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) of four lane single carriageway from Forest Road to the junction with Jervis Bay Road.
From Jervis Bay Road southward the highway is mostly single two lane carriageway along the NSW South Coast, passing through Ulladulla, Batemans Bay (where the 1-kilometre (0.6 mi) town centre bypass is built as dual carriageway), Moruya, Narooma, then bypassing Bega and Merimbula and passing through Eden, before crossing the border at the Black-Allen Line into Victoria, 550 kilometres (340 mi) from Sydney and 515 kilometres (320 mi) from Melbourne.
A substandard alignment at Victoria Creek 13 kilometres (8 mi) south of Narooma was upgraded in 2012–13, as well as the 3.5-kilometre (2.2 mi) Bega bypass. Realignments with associated new bridges are also proposed at Termeil Creek, some 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Ulladulla, and Dignams Creek, some 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Narooma. Current identified future projects are a bypass of Nowra-Bomaderry (definite route identified only for section south of Shoalhaven River), and a bypass of Ulladulla-Milton.
In Victoria, the Princes Highway follows a very long and complex route. The route within metropolitan Melbourne carries the original individual names of sections of the Princes Highway on signage. Each road section has Princes Highway labelled in bold and the individual name in brackets, such as Dandenong Road or Geelong Road.
Apart from the routes National Alternative Route 1, C101 and C109 (in the outer metropolitan areas – such as Berwick and Werribee), the M1 Freeway route intersects (Monash Freeway/CityLink/West Gate Freeway/Princes Freeway) and this carries the much higher volume of traffic, including congestion in the peak periods, serving as the major, most direct and quickest route for Route 1 in Australia.
In Victoria the length from the South Australian border to the New South Wales border is 955 kilometres (593 mi). The highway passes (from east to west) through Orbost, Bairnsdale and Sale in the Gippsland region. The highway then passes through the Latrobe Valley, bypassing Morwell, Warragul and Pakenham to Dandenong and into the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Most of this section is freeway standard, with the main outstanding work being a freeway bypass of Traralgon, although the highway through Traralgon has already been built to urban dual carriageway standard.
As the road passes through Melbourne, it first follows the route of Lonsdale Street (through Dandenong), then Dandenong Road to St Kilda, and Queens Road through Albert Park (this section of highway is shown in the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan as part of the F14 freeway corridor). Closer to Melbourne city centre, it follows the route of Kings Way, and then King Street through central Melbourne. It then follows Curzon Street after leaving the central business district to enter North Melbourne, and then follows Flemington Road northwest, then Racecourse Road, Smithfield Road and Ballarat Road. It starts again as Geelong Road where Geelong Road branches southwest off Ballarat Road, and Ballarat Road leads onto the Western Freeway. The reason for the confusing dual naming of the highway through Melbourne is that it follows streets and roads which were already named when the highway was named in 1920.
Through much of Melbourne and its suburbs, the route of National Route 1 is not the Princes Highway, but rather the Monash Freeway, which intersects the Princes Highway on the eastern outskirts of Melbourne, and then the West Gate Freeway which bypasses central Melbourne. These two freeways have been linked by the southern link of the CityLink tollway. This avoids the confusing and congested arrangement of roads that is the Princes Highway in central Melbourne. The M1 include an advanced freeway management system for its entire 75-kilometre (47 mi) urban length, between Narre Warren and Werribee. Along with freeway sensors and associated data stations, overhead lane use management system (LUMS) gantries that show speed and lane availability, electronic message boards, real-time drive time signs and arterial road real-time Information signs (before the on-ramps); there are the 64+ ramp signal and metering sites. Hence, the majority of the on-ramps are traffic light controlled, depending on the density and speed of the traffic.
Heading towards Geelong in a south-west direction, the West Gate Freeway and Geelong Road join together and become the Princes Freeway. Which, unusually for an Australian inter-city freeway, carries enough traffic to merit four to three lanes in either direction (often still being congested in the morning and afternoon peaks). On the northern outskirts of Geelong, the highway reverts from freeway to three lane dual carriageway through Geelong and its suburbs, with traffic light-controlled at-grade intersections. Through Geelong the highway is often heavily congested.
With the completion of the freeway standard Geelong Ring Road in (2008–2009), the M1 route follows the freeway-standard road from Winchelsea to Traralgon, without encountering any traffic lights (with the exception of Yarragon and Trafalgar, which are yet to be bypassed). The ring road rejoins the original highway at Waurn Ponds on the western edge of Geelong.
Within Geelong, the Princes Highway starts at the junction of Princes Freeway in the northern Geelong suburb of Corio, and runs through Geelong's northern and southern suburbs via a inner-city western bypass of the Geelong City Centre, to the current Highway 1 segment of the Princes Highway at Waurn Ponds in Geelong's southern suburbs. The highway is six lane dual carriageway from Corio to Latrobe Terrace, continuing as a four-lane dual carriageway to Waurn Ponds. The 1989 re-alignment of the Princes Highway (along La Trobe Terrace) provides a dual carriageway, four-lane limited access road to replace the original route along Moorabool Street in South Geelong and High Street in Belmont. Upon the completion of the final section of the Geelong Ring Road, another section of the Princes Highway was superseded in 2013 at Waurn Ponds.
After Geelong the highway heads in a generally western direction, continuing with the 'M1' designation as a dual carriageway road to Winchelsea (opened 2015). West of Winchelsea, the road is presently is being reconstructed to dual carriageway standard, passing through Colac, before reaching Camperdown - ultimately reaching the port of Warrnambool. The section from Geelong to Warrnambool runs inland, and so avoids the slower, but scenic Great Ocean Road. From here, the Princes Highway passes through Portland before crossing the border into South Australia. At this point the highway is 1,530 kilometres (950 mi) from Sydney, 465 kilometres (289 mi) from Melbourne and 510 kilometres (320 mi) from Adelaide.
At Mount Gambier the highway takes a more northward tack as the coast curves to the northwest, passing the Coorong National Park. After Kingston SE, it turns inland (north) to avoid the lakes at the mouth of the River Murray. Shortly before Tailem Bend it is joined by the Dukes Highway, part of the main route between Melbourne and Adelaide. The highway then turns north-west and becomes the South Eastern Freeway, crosses the Murray River, bypasses Murray Bridge and continues to Glen Osmond on Adelaide's southeastern outskirts.
At this point the Princes Highway is 6 kilometres (4 mi) from Adelaide and 2,055 kilometres (1,277 mi) from Sydney. It continues north-west via Glen Osmond Road to Adelaide city centre, where it runs west along South Terrace then turns north along King William Street through the city centre and then follows Main North Road to Port Wakefield Road where it rejoins the coast. From Port Wakefield it continues as the Augusta Highway, and follows the coast, skirting Port Pirie to continue on to Port Augusta, where it terminates at the intersection of the Eyre Highway and Stuart Highway.
- Highway 1 (Australia)
- Highway 1 (South Australia)
- Highways in Australia
- Highways in Victoria
- List of highways in New South Wales
- List of highways in South Australia
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