Border welcome sign on the Victoria / South Australia border at Yamba, SA. Image © Paul Rands.

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

The state's main roads are administered by Transport SA, the department manages nearly 23 000 kilometres of South Australia’s road network, which represents almost 25 per cent of the state’s total road network. The state has some roads that are numbered using alphanumeric designation to indicate the importance and / or the standard of the route. Previous to the introduction of alphanumeric routes in 1998 the state did not have state numbered routes, only numbered national routes and national highways. 1

The route numbering markers are as follows: 1

In 1920, some 10,000 motor cars and 700 commercial vehicles were registered in South Australia. By 1929, their numbers had grown to 56,000 and 13,000 respectively. Integrated highway planning, abandoned when the Local Boards of Main Roads were abolished in 1887, was revived in 1926 with the appointment of a Commissioner of Highways. State and Federal revenues from petrol and motor taxes were to be devoted solely to road construction, initially in a programme of bituminous reconstruction of arterial highways within an 80 kilometre radius of Adelaide. 2

In 1962, a report recommended a system of freeways for Adelaide, totalling 156 kilometres, that would be expected to 'serve road traffic needs up to 1981'.

A report, entitled "Metropolitan Adelaide Transport Study (MATS)" was designed to examine the freeway proposals. The MATS transportation plan, when released, received a interesting reaction on its release in 1968. The MATS proposed system of 98 kilometres of expressways, which found support among the motoring and construction lobbies but provoked such wide-spread condemnation among the general community that it discredited the technical approach to urban planning. Successive governments have deferred or cancelled sections of the proposed freeways; the line of the northeastern freeway is replaced by the world's first guided busway outside of Germany, the O-Bahn. 2

The name, structure, operations and scope of the government agency responsible for road construction and maintenance changed over time. It has variously been called the Central (and Local) Board of Main Roads (1849 to 1917), the Local Government Department (1917 to 1926) after which the Department of Highways and Local Government came into being. In 1969 Highways and Local Government separated and road-making became the responsibility of the Highways Department. The name changed again in 1989 when the Highways Department was abolished and the Department of Road Transport was created. In 1992 the authority was called the Road Transport Agency, in 1995 it was the Department of Transport and finally in 1998 was named Transport SA.3

Presented below is data from Transport SA on various facts and figures about South Australia's road network. 1

Roads facts and figures as at February 2007
Road categories Road length (km)
Sealed Unsealed DTEI total
National highway 2,751 0 2,751
Urban arterial 920 0 920
Urban local 22 0 22
Rural arterial 8,565 48 8,613
Rural local 117 10,075 10,192
Totals 12,375 10,123 22,498

Below are the various road types that this site has photos of. In South Australia, routes are either numbered or not.

M1 Decommissioned
Alphanumeric Routes Decommissioned Routes
Alphanumeric routes are the newest form of route numbering in SA. Roads are numbered with M, A and B prefixes indicating the importance / standard of the route. Routes that were once numbered, but are now not, perhaps due to alignment changes or the importance of a route has diminished.

1 Transport SA
2 Atlas of South Australia 1986
3 History Trust of SA

Last updated: 31-Jan-2019 14:43

This site © Paul Rands. All rights reserved. Some portions © (copyright) by their respective and credited owners. Permission must be obtained before using any images from this site. For details, please email by clicking here.