Border welcome sign on the Gold Coast Hwy on the Queensland / New South Wales border at Tweed Heads NSW. Image © Paul Rands.

You've arrived at the road photos and information section that covers New South Wales.

In New South Wales, as is the case with all the other states in Australia, the roads are classified into different categories, and are also numbered for maintenance purposes and also navigation purposes.

The state's roads are managed by the Road & Maritime Services department of the NSW government. It was established on 1 November 2011. The former department responsible for road infrastructure in the state was known as the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and was established on 16 January 1989, under the Transport Administration Act 1988 through an amalgamation of the former Department of Main Roads, Department of Motor Transport and the Traffic Authority. 1

The road network that RMS manages includes:

It provides financial assistance to local councils to manage 18 474 kilometres of Regional Roads and also provides some funding and support to the 144 750 kilometres of council-managed local access roads which are funded by local ratepayers and federal road assistance grants. 1

Prior to the establishment of RMS, other state operated organisations performed similar functions. These are detailed below: 1

The Main Roads Board (MRB) was established in early 1925 to create and maintain a road system suitable for the motor age by providing advice and finance on road construction, design and development in NSW. The Board was replaced by a Board of Transport Commissioners in 1932 for eight months until the Department of Main Roads (DMR) was created in November the same year and rapidly expanded throughout NSW.

The DMR undertook a huge quantity of works across NSW; including maintenance of all major roads into Sydney, active continuous programs of road reconstruction, construction, upgrading and re-routing. The DMR was also responsible for numerous ferries and bridges across NSW and formed a specialist Bridge section within the Department in charge of bridge design, construction and maintenance. In 1989, the Transport Administration Act (No. 109, 1989) amalgamated the Department of Main Roads, Department of Motor Transport and the Traffic Authority to form the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA). The RTA continued its design, construction and maintenance of all state and main roads and bridges and ferries in NSW until 31 October 2011, where roads and maritime responsibilities were merged and a new transport infrastructure department was created called Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

According to the NSW Road Occupancy Manual, published by the former Roads and Traffic Authority, Roads in NSW are divided into three types:

Road Classification Description Managed By
Arterial Roads (State roads) High traffic volume roads; highways, freeways, motorways and main roads. RMS.
Sub–arterial roads (Regional roads) These are major connector roads between state roads. They have significant traffic capacity whilst lower than those of arterial roads. Shared responsibility between RMS and local Councils.
Local roads (Unclassified) These are other minor roads managed by local Councils. Usually local Council, but may be joint responsibility.

Route Numbering is designed to aid motorists navigate, using route shields as guidance. NSW migrated from a hierarchical system (using numbers on shields) for route marking to the current alphanumeric system.

Prior to the introduction of alphanumeric route numbering, the following system was in place:

NSW had spent a number of years converting to the alphanumeric style for quite some time, with full conversion commencing in March 2013. The first 2 official routes officially to use alphanumeric designations, were M1 (Tugun Bypass) and M7 (Westlink), which were put in place well before March 2013. Prior to March 2013, new signs were installed with hierarchical route numbers on coverplates over the top of alphanumeric route numbers, but in some cases the new route numbers were left exposed on the sign.

During the transition period, a mix of alphanumeric and hierarchical route numbers were being used.

To check out the routes used in NSW and photos of them, click on one of the section names below:

M1 Decommissioned
Alphanumeric Routes Tourist Drives Decommissioned Routes
Roads are numbered with M, A and B prefixes indicating the importance / standard of the route. The white on brown Tourist Drive markers denote roads through areas of significant scenic or historic interest. Routes that were once numbered using the previous hierarchical route numbering scheme or routes that have had their number removed due to diminished importance.

1 Roads and Traffic Authority
2 Roads and Maritime Services, About Us

Last updated: 28-Jun-2020 21:47

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