National Highway (Australia)

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Road sign of the National Highway. National Highway Australia.jpg
Road sign of the National Highway.
National Highway Sign located on the Stuart Highway near Darwin, listing distances to key locations on this highway. Stuart Highway Australia.jpg
National Highway Sign located on the Stuart Highway near Darwin, listing distances to key locations on this highway.
Map of the National Highway System Australia regions map.svg
Map of the National Highway System

The National Highway (part of the National Land Transport Network) is a system of roads connecting all mainland states and territories of Australia, and is the major network of highways and motorways connecting Australia's capital cities and major regional centres.

Contents

History

Legislation

National funding for roads began in the 1920s, with the federal government contributing to major roads managed by the state and territory governments. [1] :21 However, the Federal Government did not completely fund any roads until 1974, [1] :21–23 when the Whitlam Government introduced the National Roads Act 1974. [2] Under the act, the states were still responsible for road construction and maintenance, but were fully compensated for money spent on approved projects. [2] :S7

In 1977, the 1974 Act was replaced by the State Grants (Roads) Act 1977, which contained similar provisions for the definition of "National Highways". [3]

In 1988, the National Highway became redefined under the Australian Land Transport Development (ALTD) Act 1988, [4] which had various amendments up to 2003. The 1988 Act was largely concerned with funding road development in cooperation with the state governments. The federal transport minister defined the components of the National Highway, and also a category of "Road of National Importance" (RONI), with federal funding implications. Section 10.5 of the Act required the state road authorities to place frequent, prominent, signs on the National Highways and RONI projects funded by the federal government. [5]

In 2005, the National Highway became the National Land Transport Network, under the AusLink (National Land Transport) Act 2005. The criteria for inclusion in the network was similar to the previous legislation, but expanded to include connections to major commercial centres, and inter-modal facilities. [6] All of the roads included in National Land Transport Network as of 2005 were formally defined by regulation in October 2005. [7] The Minister for Transport may alter the list of roads included in the network. Three amendments to the scheduled list of roads have been made, in February 2007, September 2008 and February 2009. [8] The third variation, [9] published in February 2009, is current as of September 2012.

Under AusLink a program that operated between July 2004 and 2009, the AusLink National Network had additional links, both road and rail. The Federal Government encouraged funding from state, territory and local governments and public–private partnerships to upgrade the network and requires state government funding contributions on parts of the network, especially for new links. For example, the Pacific Highway and the Calder Highway are part of the National Network, yet new projects are being funded 50/50 by federal and state governments. State contributions (generally 20%) are required on some sections of the old network near major cities.

Roads and routes

The various superseded Acts defined National Highways as roads, or a series of connected roads, that were the primary connection between two State or Territory capital cities, as well as between Brisbane and Cairns, and between Hobart and Burnie. [2] :S4 The Melbourne-Devonport ferry route is sometimes described colloquially as the 'sea highway', providing a link from Tasmania to the rest of the country by road.[ citation needed ]

The 16,000 kilometres (9,900 mi) of roads included in the original National Highway system had large variations in road quality. Some sections were no more than dirt tracks, whilst others were four lane dual carriageways. While 12,496 kilometres (7,765 mi) was sealed, there was also 3,807 kilometres (2,366 mi) worth of gravel roads. The National Highway was gradually improved, with the sealed proportion increased from 73 per cent in the early 1970s to 88 per cent by 1981. The sealing works were completed in 1989. [1] :21–23

Since 2005, National Highways were no longer defined in federal legislation. However, the routes were marked with a National Highway route marker up until 2013. These markers have "NATIONAL" printed in the upper portion of the shield, above the highway's number. The shield, text and number are coloured yellow while the background is dark green – the national colours of Australia. In 2014, the route makers retained the national colours, although the word "NATIONAL" was removed in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and parts of both Queensland and Victoria.

National Highway numbering originates from the earlier national route network. Many of the routes that are now National Highways with the signature green and gold shields, continue beyond the official National Highway as the black and white shielded national routes. Certain stretches of the National Highways have "A" and "M" tag on their shields; particularly those in Victoria and South Australia. They have completely revised their route numbering, basing it on the British M, A, B, C classifications. These states have retained the original National Highway numbering and shield decal, having added the appropriate M and A classification.

List of roads on the National Land Transport Network

Former National Highway routes

The following roads were part of the original National Highway network. Most are still signposted with National Highway route markers. In 2013, New South Wales introduced a new alphanumeric route numbering system, which no longer includes national highways.

RouteFormer routeRoad nameDestinationsDistance (km)
Canberra to Sydney:
New South Wales alphanumeric route A23.svg
A23
Australian national highway ACT 23.svg
National Highway 23
Federal Highway Canberra to ACT–NSW border73
AUS Alphanumeric Route M23.svg
M23
Australian national highway 23.svg
National Highway 23
ACT–NSW border to Yarra
AUS Alphanumeric Route M31.svg
M31
Australian national highway 31.svg
National Highway 31
Hume Highway/Hume Motorway Yarra to Sydney187
260 kilometres
Canberra to Melbourne:
New South Wales alphanumeric route A25.svg
A25
Australian national highway ACT 25.svg
National Highway 25
Barton Highway Canberra to ACT–NSW border52
AUS Alphanumeric Route A25.svg
A25
Australian national highway 25.svg
National Highway 25
ACT–NSW border to Yass
AUS Alphanumeric Route M31.svg
M31
Australian national highway 31.svg
National Highway 31
Hume Highway Yass to Albury294
AUS Alphanumeric Route M31.svg
M31
Australian national highway M31.svg
National Highway M31
Hume Freeway Wodonga to Melbourne (Thomastown)290
AUS Alphanumeric Route M80.svg
M80
Australian national highway M80.svg
National Highway M80
Western Ring Road Melbourne15
651 kilometres
Sydney to Melbourne:
AUS Alphanumeric Route M31.svg
M31
Australian national highway 31.svg
National Highway 31
Hume Motorway/Hume Highway Sydney to Albury539
AUS Alphanumeric Route M31.svg
M31
Australian national highway M31.svg
National Highway M31
Hume Freeway Wodonga to Melbourne (Thomastown)290
AUS Alphanumeric Route M80.svg
M80
Australian national highway M80.svg
National Highway M80
Western Ring Road Melbourne15
844 kilometres
Sydney to Adelaide:
AUS Alphanumeric Route M31.svg
M31
Australian national highway 31.svg
National Highway 31
Hume Motorway/Hume Highway Sydney to Tarcutta392
AUS Alphanumeric Route A20.svg
A20
Australian national highway 20.svg
National Highway 20
Sturt Highway Tarcutta to Buronga597
Australian national highway A20.svg
National Highway A20
Mildura to Hewett370
Gawler Bypass Hewett to Willaston3
Australian national highway M20.svg
National Highway M20
Northern Expressway Willaston to Waterloo Corner23
Australian national highway A1.svg
National Highway A1
Port Wakefield Road Waterloo Corner to Adelaide13
1403 kilometres
Sydney to Brisbane:
AUS Alphanumeric Route M1.svg
M1
Australian national highway 1.svg
National Highway 1
Pacific Motorway Sydney to Newcastle127
AUS Alphanumeric Route A43.svg
A43
Australian national highway 15.svg
National Highway 15
New England Highway Newcastle to Belford581
AUS Alphanumeric Route A15.svg
M1
Belford to Wallangarra
Australian national highway A15.svg
A15
Wallangarra to Warwick95
Cunningham Highway Warwick to Ipswich127
AUS Alphanumeric Route M2.svg
M2
Australian national highway 15.svg
National Highway 15
Ipswich Motorway Ipswich to Wacol14
AUS Alphanumeric Route M7.svg
M7
Wacol to Brisbane
944 kilometres
Melbourne to Brisbane:
AUS Alphanumeric Route M80.svg
M80
Australian national highway M80.svg
National Highway M80
Western Ring Road Melbourne15
AUS Alphanumeric Route M31.svg
M31
Australian national highway M31.svg
National Highway M31
Hume Freeway Melbourne (Thomastown) to Seymour75
AUS Alphanumeric Route M39.svg
M39
Australian national highway M39.svg
National Highway M39
Goulburn Valley Freeway Seymour to Shepparton59
AUS Alphanumeric Route A39.svg
A39
Australian national highway A39.svg
National Highway A39
Goulburn Valley Highway Shepparton to Tocumwal110
AUS Alphanumeric Route A39.svg
A39
Australian national highway 39.svg
National Highway 39
Newell Highway Tocumwal to Goondiwindi1062
Australian national highway A39.svg
National Highway A39
Leichhardt Highway Goondiwindi to North Goondiwindi21
Gore Highway North Goondiwindi to Toowoomba202
Australian national highway A2.svg
National Highway A2
Warrego Highway Toowoomba to Ipswich97
AUS Alphanumeric Route M2.svg
M2
Australian national highway 15.svg
National Highway 15
Ipswich Motorway Ipswich to Wacol14
AUS Alphanumeric Route M7.svg
M7
Wacol to Brisbane
1655 kilometres
Melbourne to Adelaide:
AUS Alphanumeric Route M80.svg
M80
Australian national highway M80.svg
National Highway M80
Western Ring Road Melbourne15
AUS Alphanumeric Route M8.svg
M8
Australian national highway M8.svg
National Highway M8
Western Freeway Melbourne (Deer Park) to Ballarat115
AUS Alphanumeric Route A8.svg
A8
Australian national highway A8.svg
National Highway A8
Western Highway Ballarat to VIC/SA Border314
Australian national highway A8.svg
National Highway A8
Dukes Highway VIC/SA Border to Tailem Bend189
Australian national highway A1.svg
National Highway A1
Princes Highway Tailem Bend to Murray Bridge25
Australian national highway M1.svg
National Highway M1
South Eastern Freeway Murray Bridge to Adelaide74
719 kilometres
Adelaide to Darwin:
Australian national highway A1.svg
National Highway A1
Main North Road Adelaide to Gepps Crosstba
Port Wakefield Road Gepps Cross to Snowtowntba
Princes Highway Snowtown to Port Augustatba
Australian national highway A87.svg
National Highway A87
Stuart Highway Port Augusta to SA/NT Bordertba
Australian national highway 87.svg
National Highway 87
Stuart Highway SA/NT Border to Daly Waterstba
Australian national highway 1.svg
National Highway 1
Stuart Highway Daly Waters to Darwintba
3,035 kilometres
Perth to Adelaide:
Australian national highway 94.svg
National Highway 94
Great Eastern Highway Perth to Redcliffetba
Great Eastern Highway Bypass Redcliffe to Hazelmeretba
Roe Highway Hazelmere to Midvaletba
Great Eastern Highway Midvale to Coolgardietba
Coolgardie-Esperance Highway Coolgardie to Norsemantba
Australian national highway 1.svg
National Highway 1
Eyre Highway Norseman to Euclatba
Australian national highway A1.svg
National Highway A1
Eyre Highway Eucla to Port Augustatba
Princes Highway Port Augusta to Snowtowntba
Port Wakefield Road Snowtown to Gepps Crosstba
Main North Road Gepps Cross to Adelaidetba
2700 kilometres
Perth to Darwin:
Australian national highway 95.svg
National Highway 95
Roe Highway Midvale (Perth) to Middle Swan (Perth)
Great Northern Highway Middle Swan (Perth) to Port Hedland
Australian national highway 1.svg
National Highway 1
Port Hedland to Wyndham
Victoria Highway Wyndham to Katherine
Stuart Highway Katherine to Darwin
Brisbane to Darwin:
AUS Alphanumeric Route M7.svg
M7
Australian national highway 15.svg
National Highway 15
Ipswich Motorway Brisbane to Wacol14
AUS Alphanumeric Route M2.svg
M2
Wacol to Ipswich
Australian national highway A2.svg
National Highway A2
Warrego Highway Ipswich to Morven
Landsborough Highway Morven to Cloncurry
Barkly Highway Cloncurry to Camooweal
Australian national highway 66.svg
National Highway 66
Camooweal to Tennant Creek
Australian national highway 87.svg
National Highway 87
Stuart Highway Tennant Creek to Daly Waters
Australian national highway 1.svg
National Highway 1
Daly Waters to Darwin
Brisbane to Cairns:
Australian national highway M1.svg
National Highway M1
Bruce Highway Brisbane to Cooroy
Australian national highway A1.svg
National Highway A1
Cooroy to Cairns
Hobart to Burnie:
Australian national highway 1.svg
National Highway 1
Brooker Highway Hobart to Granton
Midland Highway Granton to Launceston
Bass Highway Launceston to Burnie

History of changes to Australia's National Highway network

Australia's National Highway Network has had a number of changes since the National Roads Act 1974 was originally established in 1974. The 1974 Act empowered the Federal Minister for Transport to declare as a National Highway, any existing or proposed road in a State, which (in the Minister's opinion), was the main route between two State capitals; a State capital and Canberra; a State capital and Darwin; Brisbane and Cairns; Hobart and Burnie; or any other road which, in the Minister's opinion, was important enough to be a National Highway. [10]

Subsequent replacement legislation in 1977, 1988, and 2005, along with other intervening amendments, contained similar provisions. Notably, important roads to near-metropolitan locations such as Geelong, Bunbury and Wollongong were added in 2005, although not within the original concept of interstate National Highways.

Original routes included in 1974

The original components of the National Highway were officially declared on 20 September 1974, as "links" and terminated at the edge of each capital city. [11] The parts of the routes within the major urban areas were not defined as National Highways, [12] and the Sturt and Newell highway routes were not included in the original 1974 network. In June 1995, as a condition of federal funding, the National Highway route in New South Wales was required to remove existing tolling on the former F3 and former F6 inter-urban freeways, even though the former F6 did not become part of a National Highway until 2005. [13]

The Sydney to Adelaide route via the Hume and Sturt highways, and the Melbourne to Brisbane route via the Newell Highway, were added as links of the National Highway network in November 1992 under the 1988 Act, however the decision to use the route from Goondiwindi to Brisbane via the Gore Highway and Toowoomba, rather than the Cunningham Highway (via Warwick), was not finalized until October 1993. [14] These were the only two major routes added to the National Highway network between 1974 and 2005. In addition, the urban ends of intercity routes, and some link roads and ring roads joining national routes, were explicitly added to the National Highway network for the first time. [14]

As sections of existing highways were upgraded or replaced by nearby parallel routes of a new higher standard, the "National Highway" designation was usually moved onto the new part of the route. The principal route between Sydney and Newcastle was shifted from the old Pacific Highway onto the new Sydney-Newcastle freeway in nine separate stages between 1966 and 1999 as the freeway was progressively implemented. Similar changes were made as the Hume Highway was re-developed. [14]

Routes included in the National Land Transport Network for the first time under the 2005 legislation

Appendix 1 of the 'Auslink (National Land Transport) Bill' of 2004, listed the routes which were proposed to be included in 'The Auslink National Network'. [11] The listing included here distinguished between the components of the "former National Highway system", and the additional routes to be added to the Auslink National Network after the implementation of the new Act, which occurred in 2005. All of the existing routes of the National Highway prior to 2005 were included in the new network. The routes added with the inception of the 2005 Act (as described in Appendix 1 referenced above, some of the descriptions are somewhat ambiguous but clarified in the ensuing regulations) [15] are:

Changes to the National Land Transport Network made in 2007 [16]

Changes to the National Land Transport Network made in 2008 [17]

Changes to the National Land Transport Network made in 2009 [18]

Urban components of the national land transport (road) network

In Sydney, only a subset of the network of motorways and major roads in the Sydney metropolitan area are part of the current National Land Transport (Roads) Network, the rest are not part of the national network and therefore the Federal Government does not contribute funding on the same basis. The following roads in and around Sydney are currently part of the designated National Land Transport Network [19]

National highway route numbering

In addition to the network of federally funded National Highways defined in 1974, there was also a system of "national routes". This scheme, which predated the National Highways in 1953, was a plan to coordinate State road authorities to allocate consistent highway numbers to major highways which traversed more than one State, for the convenience of travellers. [20] The most notable example is "Highway 1", which follows the periphery of the continent, and only parts of which form part of the former National Highway and current National Land Transport (Roads) Network.

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

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  2. 1 2 3 National Roads Act 1974 (Cth).
  3. State Grants (Roads) Act 1977 (Cth).
  4. "'Australian Land Transport Development (ALTD) Act 1988'".
  5. "'Australian Land Transport Development (ALTD) Act 1988 Section 10.5'".
  6. "AusLink (National Land Transport) Act 2005". 8 July 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  7. "'AusLink (National Land Transport) Act National Land Transport Network Determination 2005 (No. 1)'". 10 October 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  8. "' Displayed here are links to compilations of the Principal, the most current at the top of the list.'".
  9. "'AusLink (National Land Transport) Act National Land Transport Network Determination 2005 (No. 1) as amended'" . Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  10. National Roads Act 1974 (Cth) s 4.
  11. "'The National System'" . Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  12. "'NSW Hansard'" . Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  13. 1 2 3 "'The National Highway System'" . Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  14. 1 2 "' AusLink (National Land Transport) Act National Land Transport Network Determination 2005 (No. 1) – F2005L03285 '". 10 October 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  15. 1 2 3 "'AusLink (National Land Transport) Act National Land Transport Network Variation 2007 (No. 1)'date=2007-02-14" . Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  16. "'AusLink (National Land Transport) Act National Land Transport Network Determination 2005 (No.1) Variation 2'". 23 September 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  17. 1 2 "'AusLink (National Land Transport) Act National Land Transport Network Determination (No. 1) 2005 Variation 3 '". 10 February 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "'Schedule 1 Existing and Proposed Roads Forming Part of the National Land Transport Network '".
  19. "'National Routes'".