Road Photos & Information: New South Wales
Old Pacific Highway, Riou Street, Donnison Street, Mann Street, Pacific Highway & Central Coast Highway (State Route 83) (Decommissioned)


Route Numbering:

General Information:

State Route 83 is the former National Route 1 from Hornsby in Sydney's northern suburbs to San Remo near Doyalson on the NSW Central Coast, tracing the pre-1960's route from Sydney to Newcastle. The Sydney to Gosford segment now forms an alternative / scenic route to the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway between Wahroonga and Calga.

The route varies from multi-lane suburban arterial, both divided and undivided, and single carriageway rural highway standard. The route features the striking Peats Ferry Bridge at Brooklyn, which crosses a wide section of the Hawkesbury River.

Multiplexes along the route include:

Peats Ferry Bridge: 2

Peats Ferry Road Bridge was designed by the Department of Main Roads. The bridge design incorporates two exceptional features for its day: (a) welding was used in place of riveting in the fabrication of all members in the two main truss spans and (b) the bridge piers are founded on very deep caissons to the river bed.

Each of the two main bridge spans measure 133 metres long (438 feet) and these were the longest welded truss spans in the world when built. The deck of the truss spans in concrete, cast around the truss members. The truss spans were fabricated off site and floated into position on barges, requiring a high degree of accuracy and coordination in fabrication and bridge pier setting out. To the north of the truss spans, the bridge has eight long and eight short steel girder spans.

Pier 2 supporting the main bridge spans is founded on a concrete caisson. The cutting foot of the caisson was cast on a barge in sheltered water and then floated out and sunk to the river bed within its own cofferdam. Jetting with compressed air and the addition of further sections of caisson then further sank the caisson. At one point the caisson accidentally slid under its own weight to below the water line. To recover this situation a further section had to be added by divers and the caisson pumped out, which is reputed to have taken a total of 9 months to recover. The final caisson extends 241 feet and 4 inches (73 m) below low water level, just 8 inches (20 cm) short of the world record depth for a bridge foundation at that time, held by Bay Bridge, San Francisco. Records show the remaining piers to be on precast concrete piles driven into the river bed.

The original railings to the east and west sides of the bridge spans were tubular top and bottom rails supported to steel angle standards with crimped wire mesh infill panels. These original rails still exist to the girder spans of the bridge. The rails to the two truss spans of the bridge were modified in 1966 by the removal of the tubular rails and crimped wire mesh and substitution with Armco type barriers bolted to the original steel angle standards. This is the only significant changed that has been made to the bridge structure since it opened in 1945.

The bridge has appeared in many television commercials and films. The most notable of these was an appearance in the motorcycle cult movie "Stone", filmed in 1973. In the film, almost 400 motorcyclists followed a sidecar-mounted coffin along the Pacific Highway and across the bridge. In 1998, a 25th anniversary ride attracted an estimated 32 000 riders.


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. 3

Click inside the green boxes on one of the maps below to see each segment of the highway.

Wahroonga to Kariong Kariong to San Remo

1 Roads & Traffic Authority, Schedule of Classified Roads (Version 2008)
2 Roads & Traffic Authority, Heritage and Conservation Register
3 Sam Laybutt (Ozroads)
4 Department of Main Roads, The Roadmakers
5 Department of Main Roads, Annual Report, 1956
6 Commissioner of Motor Transport, Annual Report, 1961
7 NSW State Coroner's Office, Inquest touching the death of Adam Holt, Roslyn Bragg, Travis Bragg, Madison Holt and Jasmine Holt.

Last updated: 17-Dec-2019 0:55

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