Road Photos & Information: New South Wales
  Sydney-Newcastle Freeway (National Highway 1) - Freemans Waterhole To Beresfield (Decommissioned)

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General Information:

The Sydney-Newcastle Freeway is the major arterial highway between Sydney and Newcastle. Starting life as the Berowra-Calga Tollway, the F3 has been gradually extended and improved until the Palmdale / Ourimbah gap and Lengahans Drive bypass were completed in the late 90's. The F3 replaced several sections of very windy road between Berowra and the southern reaches of Newcastle. 1

The freeway starts with the junction of the Pacific Highway and Pennant Hills Road 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 "Motorway Link" a connection feeder to the Pacific Highway (now SR111), when the freeway ended at this interchange in the mid 1980s. 1

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 (Weakley's Drive photos can be seen here) and John Renshaw Drive, Beresfield. From here the National Highway route continues to Brisbane via the New England Highway (accessed via Weakleys Drive), with traffic on NH1/NH15 taking John Renshaw Drive and the New England Highway eastbound to meet the Pacific Highway at Hexham. 1

The Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, is part of the Auslink National Network, and is the major road linking Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle. It also links with the New England and Pacific Highways, for travel to northern New South Wales and Queensland. The 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 Sydney-Newcastle Freeway is heavily used by motorists travelling to and returning from northern New South Wales and Queensland holiday destinations. 2

History:

The F3 replaced the old Pacific Highway which was built in the 1920’s 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. 2

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. 1

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. 1

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. 1

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 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 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. 1

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: 2

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

Freemans Waterhole to Beresfield   Beresfield to Freemans Waterhole
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Supplementary AD Sign:
This supplementary advance directional sign at West Wallsend directs travellers to the popular tourist destination Port Stephens, via the Pacific Hwy. September 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

  Intersection Directional Sign:
ID sign on John Renshaw Dr (NR1) on the roundabout with Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1), John Renshaw Dr (SR132) and Weakleys Dr at Beresfield, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Approaching George Booth Drive Exit:
Looking north as you approach the SR 128 / Cardiff exit at West Wallsend, June 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

  Intersection Directional Signs:
ID signs on John Renshaw Dr (NR1) on the roundabout with Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1), John Renshaw Dr (SR132) and Weakleys Dr at Beresfield, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Approaching George Booth Drive Exit:
Looking north as you approach the SR 128 / Cardiff exit at West Wallsend, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Intersection Directional Sign:
ID sign on John Renshaw Dr (NR1) on the roundabout with Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1), John Renshaw Dr (SR132) and Weakleys Dr at Beresfield, July 2013. Click here for a photo of this location from March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

West Wallsend Interchange:
Entering the West Wallsend Interchange, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Distance Sign:
Looking southbound at Beresfield, July 2013. Click here for a photo of this location from March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

George Booth Drive Exit:
Taken from the nortbound carriageway at West Wallsend, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Advance Directional Sign:
AD sign at Black Hill approaching Lenaghans Dr (former NH1), July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Newcastle Link Road AD Sign:
The interchange for Newcastle as you head through West Wallsend. June 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

  Lenghans Drive:
Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1) at the junction with Lenaghans Dr at Black Hill, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

George Booth Drive Overpass:
Looking north at West Wallsend at the George Booth Drive and Newcastle Link Road interchange. September 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

  Start 110km/h zone:
110 km/h zone starts here at Black Hill until Mount White, March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

Entering Newcastle Interchange:
Northbound carriageway as it enters the Newcastle Interchange at West Wallsend, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Start Freeway:
Start freeway signage at Black Hill, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Newcastle Exit:
Exit to the Newcastle Link Road at West Wallsend, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Black Hill Road:
Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1) at the Black Hill Rd overpass at Black Hill, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Newcastle Interchange:
Looking northbound through the Newcastle Interchange at West Wallsend, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Variable Message Sign:
VMS located at Lenaghan, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Distance Sign:
Sign detailing distances to major destinations, located on the northbound carriageway at Seahampton, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Stockrington Road:
Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1) as it passes over Stockrington Rd at Minmi, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Services Sign:
Services sign at Stockrington for the driver reviver at Beresfield, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Supplementary AD Sign:
Looking southbound at Minmi, March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

End Freeway 2km:
Older style end freeway ahead signage at Black Hill, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Advance Directional Sign:
AD sign for the Newcastle Link Road interchange at Minmi, July 2013. Click here for a photo of this location from March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

End Freeway 1km:
Older style end freeway ahead signage at Black Hill, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Newcastle Interchange:
Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1) at the Newcastle Interchange at Minmi, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Supplemental AD Signage:
Supplemental advance directional sign at Beresfield, for the end of the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Newcastle Interchange:
Southbound through the Newcastle Interchange at Minmi, March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

Services Sign:
Services sign for the driver reviver at Beresfield, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  RD Sign:
Distance sign near the Newcastle Link Road interchange at Minmi, March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

Advance Directional Sign:
Sign depicting options at the end of the freeway at Beresfield, June 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

  George Booth Drive:
Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1) as it passes under George Booth Dr at West Wallsend, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Services Sign:
Services sign for the driver reviver at Beresfield, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  RD Sign:
Distance sign near the George Booth Dr interchange at West Wallsend, November 2010.

Image © Rob Tilley

End Sydney-Newcastle Freeway:
End freeway signage at Beresfield, June 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

  O'Donnelltown Road:
Sydney-Newcastle Fwy (NH1) as it passes under O'Donnelltown Rd at Holmesville, July 2013.

Image © Paul Rands

Rumble Strip:
Rumble strips across the freeway, warning to slow down for the roundabout at Beresfield, June 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

  AD Sign:
Advance directional sign at Ryhope for the Awaba interchange (Palmers Road), July 2013. Click here for a photo of this location from March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

Roundabout Warning Sign:
Flashing roundabout sign approaching the Beresfield roundabout, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  AD Sign:
Advance directional sign at Ryhope for the Awaba interchange (Palmers Road), July 2013. Click here for a photo of this location from March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

Sydney-Newcastle Fwy Terminus:
Advance directional sign approaching the roundabout with Weakleys Dr / John Renshaw Dr (SR132) / Pacific Hwy (NR1) at Beresfield, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Awaba Interchange:
Southbound at the Awaba Interchange, March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

Roundabout Warning Sign:
Illuminated roundabout sign at the Beresfield roundabout, June 2007

Image © Paul Rands

  Awaba Interchange:
Southbound at the Awaba Interchange with signage for Palmers Road, March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

Intersection Directional Sign:
ID sign for the driver reviver at Beresfield, December 2008.

Image © Paul Rands

  Cessnock & Palmers Road Overpass:
Awaba Interchange at Ryhope, March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

      RD Sign:
Distance sign located after the Awaba Interchange, July 2013. Click here for a photo of this location from March 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

Click here for National Route 1, the Pacific Highway between Beresfield and NSW-QLD Border
Click here for the continuation of National Highway 1 from Freemans Waterhole to Wyee

1 Sam Laybutt
2 Roads & Traffic Authority
3 Gosford City Council
4 Office of the NSW Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

Last updated: 05-Jan-2017 14:02

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