Road Photos & Information: New South Wales
  Pacific Motorway, Pacific Highway, New England Highway, John Renshaw Drive, Gore Hill Freeway, Warringah Freeway, Sydney Harbour Tunnel, Cahill Expressway, Eastern Distributor, Southern Cross Drive, General Holmes Drive, The Grand Parade, President Avenue, Princes Highway & Princes Motorway (M1 / A1)

Statistics:

Route Numbering:

General Information:

M1 / A1 is the principal coastal route through New South Wales, and forms part of the circumferential route around Australia.

The route varies greatly along its length and includes sections of rural highway, urban arterial road, divided rural highway and also motorway. The route also features several tunnels, located in the inner east, inner south and lower northern suburbs of Sydney and at Yelgun and Tweed Heads, at the northern end of the route in NSW. The route passes through forest, rural, residential, commercial and industrial areas.

Pacific Motorway is broken into 2 sections.

The southernmost section runs between Wahroonga, in Sydney's northern suburbs to Beresfield, located west of Newcastle and is the former Sydney-Newcastle Freeway. Built in several stages, with the first commencing in the late 1960s, the route traverses some of the toughest terrain between Sydney and Newcastle and bypasses the Central Coast and majority of the populated areas in the Hunter Valley and forms part of the main route between Sydney and Brisbane.

The northernmost section runs from Brunswick Heads through to the Queensland border, and features 2 tunnels, one at Yelgun and the other at Tweed Heads, which travels under Coolangatta Airport in Queensland.

The southern section of the Pacific Motorway (formerly Sydney-Newcastle Freeway) is the major arterial highway between Sydney and Newcastle. Starting life as the Berowra-Calga Tollway, the route has been gradually extended and improved until the Palmdale / Ourimbah gap and Lengahans Drive bypass were completed in the late 90's. The route replaced several sections of very windy road between Berowra and the southern reaches of Newcastle. 2

The southern section of the motorway starts with the junction of the Pacific Highway (A1) and Pennant Hills Road (A28) at Pearce's Corner, Wahroonga in Sydney's north. From here it goes north, skirting the western edge of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park before meeting the Hawkesbury River at Brooklyn. After crossing the Hawkesbury the motorway passes through the Brisbane Water National Park, crossing Mooney Mooney Creek with an impressive 480m long and 75m high bridge before reaching the first main interchange on the Central Coast at Kariong. 1

After reaching Kariong, the motorway continues through rural and semi-rural areas of the Central Coast with interchanges provided at Ourimbah, Tuggerah, Warnervale and also Kiar, near Doyalson. From the Doyalson interchange the freeway continues to the west of Lake Macquarie with interchanges near Morisset, Cessnock, Toronto and Cardiff. The Doyalson interchange is with what is known as Doyalson Link Road (formerly Motorway Link) a connection feeder to the Pacific Highway (A43), when the motorway ended at this interchange in the mid 1980s. 2

After the Cardiff interchange a link road takes traffic into Newcastle via Wallsend while the motorway continues north to reach its finish with a roundabout at the junction of Weakleys Drive and John Renshaw Drive (A1 and B68), Beresfield. From here motorists continue to Brisbane via John Renshaw Drive (A1) and the New England Highway (A1) eastbound to meet the Pacific Highway at Hexham.

The Pacific Motorway is part of the Auslink National Network, and is the major road linking Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle. It also links with the Hunter Expressway (M15), New England Highway (A43) and Pacific Highway (A1), for travel to northern New South Wales and Queensland. The Pacific Motorway (formerly Sydney-Newcastle Freeway) is a vital link for around 75 000 motorists that use the freeway daily, the majority of whom travel between the Central Coast and Hunter regions and Sydney. During weekends and school holidays, the Pacific Motorway is heavily used by motorists travelling to and returning from northern New South Wales and Queensland holiday destinations. 2

The Gore Hill Freeway was constructed along a narrow corridor on Sydney's lower north shore. It's 3.1 kilometres in length and links the Warringah Freeway at Naremburn with the Lane Cove Tunnel at Lane Cove. Originally the freeway linked with Epping Road. During construction 70 000 trees were used in the landscaping, more than was removed to build the freeway. 3

The Pacific Highway section of A1 runs between Brunswick Heads and Hexham, and also between Wahroonga and the Gore Hill Freeway at Artarmon. The northern section between Brunswick Heads and Hexham is a mix of dual carriageway, rural highway and urban arterial roadway. The southern section between Wahroonga and Artarmon is urban arterial standard and passes through one of Sydney's more affluent areas.

The highway traces its origins back to an early settler, George Peat, who owned the land between the Hawkesbury River and Mooney Mooney Creek. To provide access to his property, Peat began a ferry service across the Hawkesbury River in 1844 and surveyed, then constructed a road between Hornsby and Kariong in 1854. After his death in 1870, the ferry service was abandoned and the road fell into disrepair, finally closing to all traffic in 1899, following the completion of the Sydney-Newcastle railway.

Demand for a route between Sydney and Newcastle dates back to the early 20th century. When the only access was via the sea or via a long route through the town of Wiseman's Ferry. In the 1920s, the then Main Roads Board undertook a series of surveys to form an easier and more reliable route north from Sydney. In 1928 construction began on upgrading the old road and converting it to a modern standard, plus creating a new route north, utilising some of the abandoned Peat's Ferry Rd, while improving the horizontal and vertical alignments. In May 1930 the ferry service across the Hawkesbury River was re-established to service the new road until such times that a bridge became necessary. June 1930 marked the completion of the concrete surfacing.

During the time of the Hornsby to Gosford contruction, improvements were made to roads between Gosford to Newcastle as part of the link. On May 17 in 1929, the route was named as the Great Northern Highway. The work from Hornsby to Gosford cost almost £1 million, however it was money well spent, reducing the trip from Sydney to Newcastle from 9 hours to 4 ½ hours.

This road links the Pacific Highway and New England Highway with the Pacific Motorway between Beresfield and Tarro, west of Hexham, and consists entirely of dual carriageway. The road is named after the Hon. J. B. Renshaw, M.L.A., who, during the 1950s, was Minister for Local Government and Minister for Highways.

Built during the 1960s, the Warringah Freeway consists of a series of close interchanges and a large number of lanes, very reminiscent of some US freeways, and connects the Gore Hill Freeway with the Sydney Harbour Tunnel (and also the Sydney Harbour Bridge).

Formerly known as the Warringah Expressway, this section of M1 is one of Sydney's grander road engineering feats. It was originally designed to head through Sydney's north shore to the northern beaches.

The original plan for the Warringah Freeway was to have head north at Willoughby Road, through the SCEGGS playing fields, through Castlecrag and cross Middle Harbour at Sugarloaf Point / Pickering Point. From there it would continue north along the Wakehurst Pkwy. There was an EIS comissioned in 1963 for an interchange at Warringah Road & Wakehurst Parkway. There was also to be two spurs from Pickering Point into Balgowlah and another along Burnt Bridge Creek to join Condamine Street near Kenneth Road.

The Warringah Freeway also features adjustable lanes depending on traffic requirements. The western middle carriageway, which is usually northbound, becomes southbound during the morning peak (from 05:30 - 09:30). The time the change back occurs, depends on different traffic conditions. The eastern middle carriageway used to become northbound in the afternoon peak prior to 1987. This changed when construction of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel began. Because of the tunnel approach, this carriageway is now permanently southbound only.

Built during the late 1980s, the Sydney Harbour Tunnel was built to provide additional traffic capacity across Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), and helped alleviate traffic levels on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The route also forms part of an eastern bypass of the Sydney CBD. The route is tolled.

The 2.3 kilometre Sydney Harbour Tunnel connects the Warringah Freeway on the northern side of Sydney Harbour to the Cahill Expressway, south of the harbour. It includes a one kilometre section below the harbour constructed by the immersed tube method. The Sydney Harbour Tunnel Company (SHTC) owns, operates and will maintain the Harbour Tunnel until August 2022 when it will be transferred to public ownership. 3

The route features New South Wales first ever expressway, the Cahill Expressway built in the 1950s at Circular Quay. Stage 1 of the route features a dual deck, with roadway on the top and railway under, both passing over the Circular Quay ferry terminal on Sydney Harbour. 3

The Eastern Distributor forms the rest of the eastern bypass of the Sydney CBD and was built during the 1990s as a slot freeway, which is sunken below the surface of surrounding suburbs and streets. This route also features tunnels and is tolled.

The Eastern Distributor provides a high-quality road link between the Cahill Expressway at Woolloomooloo and Southern Cross Drive at Zetland. The motorway was funded and built by Airport Motorway Limited, which now operates, maintains and repairs the motorway until 2048, when it will revert to public ownership. The motorway is operated on Airport Motorway's behalf by Leighton Contractors. 3 The Eastern Distributor bypasses up to 19 sets of traffic lights. 5 Click here for the Eastern Distributor web site.

Southern Cross Drive was built during the beginning of Sydney's freeway era, and connects the Eastern Distributor with General Holmes Drive, and features some viaducts over swampy ground located near Kingsford Smith Airport.

General Holmes Drive was an expansion of existing roads around the southeast of Kingsford Smith Airport, the international airport for Sydney. It features a dual tunnel underneath the north-south runways of the airport and located close to Botany Bay. The route connects with The Grand Parade (A1) and also South Western Motorway (M5).

The Grand Parade is a suburban arterial route that runs along the southwestern part of Botany Bay, and passes through mostly residential and commercial precincts, and as a result suffers from traffic congestion.

Suffering traffic congestion similar to The Grand Parade, President Avenue connects The Grand Parade with the Princes Highway, for the journey to Sydney southernmost suburbs and beyond.

The Princes Highway was formed from a string of roads linking Sydney to the Illawarra, and then forming a coastal route to Melbourne and into South Australia. The section covered by A1 is in 2 pieces - between Rockdale and Waterfall in Sydney, and then Yallah near Wollongong through to the Victorian Border. The route is a mix of urban arterial road, dual carriageway and also rural highway.

The Princes Motorway started life as the Southern Expressway (later Freeway) and also Mount Ousley Road, and runs between Waterfall, bypassing Wollongong and ending at Yallah, in the Illawarra's southern suburbs. It is the main route between Sydney and Wollongong, and crosses the Illawarra Escarpment to the narrow coastal strip on which most of the Illawarra suburbs are built.

Multiplexes along the route include:

History:

The southern section of the Pacific Motorway (formerly the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway) replaced the Pacific Highway which was built in the 1920s along a route that had existed since 1840s, when settler George Peat cut a track to his property on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. 1

Planning began for the freeway in the 1950s, with the aim of providing a high-speed replacement to a section of the Pacific Highway which was built in the 1920s and was struggling to cope with the increased traffic volume. Furthermore it was planned that the freeway would connect to freeway systems being proposed for both Sydney and Newcastle, providing a city-to-city freeway link. However, due to several reasons the goal and route of the freeway changed significantly so that today it serves to bypass Newcastle rather than go into it. 2

Firstly, the route between Mount White and Kariong was originally planned to go further east than the current route with an easier crossing of Mooney Mooney Creek. By the time that construction was to begin on this section resistance from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to the proposed route forced the government to take a route through Calga which at the time would have formed part of a route to Singleton. 2

The route through Wyong Shire changed as well; instead of passing along the western edge of the Tuggerah Lakes development in that area resulted in the freeway moving further west with a link road being constructed to meet the Pacific Highway near Doyalson. 2

Perhaps the most significant effect on the freeway's route and its connections was the anti-freeway movement of the 1970s. Strong public resistance to freeways being constructed within cities along with less than favourable results from government inquiries resulted in unconstructed freeway projects being cancelled and those under construction being revised or cut short. For the then Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, this meant that the connecting Lane Cove Valley and North-Western Freeways in Sydney would not be built - forcing traffic to travel along the Pacific Highway between Wahroonga and the city. In addition, the freeway would now go to the west of Lake Macquarie rather than the east and bypass Newcastle. Sections of A37 (formerly State Route 123), one of the two expressway routes that the freeway would have connected to in Newcastle, have been constructed, while the freeway route between Belmont and Bennetts Green and the connecting expressway route to Merewether are still reserved with the possibility that they could be constructed in the future. 2

A plaque near the former Mooney Mooney toll plaza (now ambulance station), commemorating the Hawkesbury River to Mt White section of the route, reads as follows: 1

Sydney - Newcastle Road

The first pioneer trade directly connecting Sydney and areas north of the Hawkesbury River was established in 1844 when a ferry service between Kangaroo Point and Mooney Mooney Point was connected by George Peat. The rough tracks north of the River lead to Wollombi, Cessnock, Maitland and Newcastle. Prior to 1844 travellers to and from the areas north of The Hawkesbury River had to travel a long and circuitous route via Windsor and Wisemans Ferry. With the opening of the Railway between Sydney and Newcastle in 1889, the Northern Road via Peats Ferry fell into disuse. Direct Road access from Sydney to Newcastle was re-established by the Main Roads Board in 1930 with the opening to traffic of a new motor road constructed from Hornsby to Gosford as part of the Pacific Highway and the provision of a vehicular ferry service across the Hawkesbury River. The road bridge which replaced the ferry service was completed in 1945. The Toll work from Hawkesbury River to Mount White approximately 5 ¾ miles opened to traffic on 15th December 1965, is ultimately to form part of an expressway between Sydney and Newcastle which will replace the Pacific Highway as the principal arterial road between these cities. It is the first major rural expressway construction to be undertaken in New South Wales.

The Hon. P.H. Morton, MLA
Minister for Highways

J.A.L. Shaw D.S.O., B.E.
Commissioner for Main Roads

Click here for an old DMR issued brochure on Expressway Etiquette, which includes a map of the (former) tollway from Berowra to Calga.

1 Roads & Maritime Services.
2 Sam Laybutt (Ozroads).
3 City of Sydney.
4 Roads & Maritime Services.
5 Department of Main Roads, The Roadmakers, A History of Main Roads in New South Wales, ISBN 0 7240 0439 4.
6 Department of Main Roads, Annual Report, 1956.
7 Roads & Traffic Authority, Thematic History, 2nd Edition, 2006.
8 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, Herons Creek Deviation Duplication.
9 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, Raymond Terrace Bypass.
10 Roads & Maritime Services,Projects, Pacific Highway Upgrade, Ballina To Tweed Heads, Completed Projects, Bangalow Bypass Duplication.
11 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour, Completed projects, Raleigh Deviation.
12
Roads and Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway Upgrade, Ballina To Tweed Heads, Completed Projects, Chinderah Bypass.
13 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, Wang Wauk to Bundacree Creek.
14 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, Taree to Coopernook.
15 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour, Completed projects, Eungai Deviation.
16 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Coffs Harbour to Ballina, Completed Projects, Gap Road.
17 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, Raymond Terrace to Karuah.
18 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Ballina To Tweed Heads, Completed Projects, Ewingsdale to Tyagarah Realignment.
19 Roads & Maritime Services, Pacific Highway Upgrade, Project Fact Sheet, Ewingsdale Interchange.
20 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Coffs Harbour to Ballina, Completed projects, Tyndale Realignment.
21 Roads and Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Coffs Harbour to Ballina, Completed Projects, Bray - Arthur St, Coffs Harbour.
22 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Ballina To Tweed Heads, Completed Projects, Tandy's Lane.
23 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway Upgrade, Ballina To Tweed Heads, Completed projects, Yelgun to Chinderah.
24 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, Karuah Bypass.
25 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, The Lakes Way interchange.
26 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, Coopernook Bypass.
27 Roads & Maritime Services, Karuah to Bulahdelah upgrade sections 2 & 3, Community Update, August 2007.
28 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway Upgrade, Coffs Harbour to Ballina, Ballina Bypass.
29 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Ballina To Tweed Heads, Completed Projects, Tugun Bypass.
30 Roads and Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour, Completed projects, Bonville upgrade.
31 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Coffs Harbour to Ballina, Completed projects, Glenugie upgrade.
32 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway Upgrade, Ballina To Tweed Heads, Banora Point.
33 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Completed projects, Coopernook to Herons Creek.
34 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour To Ballina.
35 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Bulahdelah upgrade.
36 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour, Kempsey Bypass.
37 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade, Hexham to Port Macquarie, Herons Creek to Stills Road Upgrade.
38 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour To Ballina, Devil's Pulpit Upgrade.
39 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Pacific Highway upgrade,Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour, Frederickton to Eungai.
40 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Coffs Harbour To Ballina, Pimlico to Teven.
41 Gosford City Council.
42 Department of Main Roads, Inter-City Expressway, Hawkesbury River-Calga Tollway brochure.
43 Office of the NSW Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.
44 NSW Parliament.
45 North Sydney Council.
46 Home Traders Real Estate.
47 Airport Motorway Pty Ltd.
48 Main Roads Board, Annual Report, Volume 1, Number 1, September 1929.
49 Construction of bridge over Victoria Creek at Central Tilba. Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Princes Highway upgrade, Victoria Creek.
50 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Southern region, Completed projects, North Kiama Bypass.
51 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Southern region, Completed projects, Pambula River Bridge.
52 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Southern region, Completed projects, Forest Road to Jervis Bay Road.
53 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Southern region, Completed projects, Conjola Mountain.
54 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Southern region, Completed projects, Kiama Bypass access ramps.
55 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Southern region, Completed projects, Oak Flats to Dunmore.
56 NSW Government, Media Release, $2.5 Million Project to Improve Road Safety South of Batemans Bay, 25 January 2011
57 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Princes Highway upgrade, Nangudga Lake Bridge replacement.
58 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Princes Highway upgrade, South Nowra.
59 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Princes Highway upgrade, Victoria Creek.
60 Roads & Maritime Services, Bega Bypass, Community Update, December 2012.
61 Roads & Maritime Services, Gerringong Upgrade, Community Update, November 2012.
62 Roads & Maritime Services, Projects, Princes Highway upgrade, South Head Road.

Last updated: 20-Feb-2017 12:27

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