Monash Freeway

The Monash Freeway[3] is a major urban freeway in Victoria, Australia, linking Melbourne's CBD to its south-eastern suburbs and beyond to the Gippsland region. It carries up to 180,000 vehicles per day[citation needed] and is one of Australia's busiest freeways. The entire stretch of the Monash Freeway bears the designation M1. The freeway was originally shown in the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan as part of the F9 and F14 Freeway corridors.

Monash Freeway

Monash Fwy S from Toorak Rd 1.jpg
Monash Freeway viewed from the Toorak Road overpass
General information
Length34 km (21 mi)
Route number(s)
  • M1 (1997–present)
  • Entire Route
route number
Major junctions
NW end
for full list see exits and interchanges
SE end
Major suburbs / townsChadstone, Mulgrave, Doveton, Narre Warren
Highway system

The freeway is named in honour of General Sir John Monash, an esteemed Australian military commander for the allies during World War I.


The Monash Freeway is an amalgamation of two initially separate freeways: the Mulgrave Freeway (initially designated Freeway Route 81) linking Warrigal Road, Chadstone to the Princes Highway in Eumemmerring; and the South Eastern Freeway (initially designated Freeway Route 80) linking Punt Road, Richmond and Toorak Road, Hawthorn East.

Mulgrave FreewayEdit

The initial section of the Mulgrave Freeway was opened to traffic in 1972,[4] with bi-directional interchanges with Heatherton and Stud Roads. Later in the 1970s and in the early 1980s it was progressively extended Eastward to Forster Road - with additional interchanges at Blackburn, Ferntree Gully, Wellington and Jacksons Roads (and eventually Police Road during the early to mid 1990s) - then to Huntingdale Road, and finally to Warrigal Road in Chadstone. Construction at the Hallam end extended underneath an interchange at the Princes Highway and southwards along the old alignment of the South Gippsland Highway to the interchange with Dandenong-Hastings Road, now the Westernport Highway at Lyndhurst; this section was initially named the Eumemmerring Freeway, but later named the South Gippsland Freeway.[4] The Freeway Route 81 designation was dropped in 1988, coinciding with the opening of the South Eastern Arterial.

At this time the Tullamarine Freeway also carried the Freeway Route 81 route shield. This was due to the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan having the two freeways linked to each other from around East Malvern (at the Mulgrave Freeway end) and at Flemington (at the Tullamarine Freeway end), sweeping through the St Kilda area. The plan never came to fruition, but the two freeways have since been linked by the West Gate Freeway extension and the CityLink project.

Monash Freeway (former South Eastern Arterial) viewed from the footbridge at East Malvern Station

Mulgrave Freeway timeline of constructionEdit

  • 1972 - Mulgrave and Eumemmerring (South Gippsland) Freeways - 5.6 km from the Princes Highway, Hallam to Stud Road, Dandenong North, opened 21 November 1972.[4]
  • 1974 - 7.5 km opened 1974 from Springvale Road to Stud Road $9.3 million.[5]
  • 1976 - Opened from Springvale Road to Blackburn Road, 15 December 1976.[6]
  • 1977 - Opened from Blackburn to Forster Road, 5 April 1977, by the Hon J A Rafferty, Minister for Transport. This section along with the previous section opened in 1976 cost a total of $13m.[6]
  • 1979 - 2.1 km from Huntingdale Road to Forster Road, with three lanes each direction, plus emergency stopping lanes, opened 12 December 1979, by Minister for Transport, the Hon Robert Maclellan MLA, at a cost of $8.7m.[7]
  • 1981 - 1.6 km from Huntingdale Road to Warrigal Road, with two lanes each direction, plus emergency stopping lanes — opened 24 June 1981, by Minister for Transport, the Hon Robert Maclellan MLA, at a cost of $11m. ‘Opened one week after the 20th anniversary of the opening of Victoria's first freeway, the Maltby Bypass Road near Werribee, on 16 June 1961'.[8]

South Eastern FreewayEdit

Initial construction of the South Eastern Freeway had been completed by the mid-1960s, connecting Burnley to Olympic Park at Harcourt Parade, which fed traffic to Punt Road at the Hoddle Bridge: an overpass across Punt Road quickly followed to end at Anderson Street and the Morell Bridge, with a single-carriageway feeder road to the Swan Street Bridge (and Batman Avenue) 800 metres beyond. The freeway was eventually further extended east from Burnley under the MacRobertson Bridge along the Yarra, to Toorak Road, with a single-carriageway feeder road taking excess traffic to Tooronga Road. (Part of the road still exists along the Home Hardware store which can be seen from the Tooronga road overpass of the Monash Freeway.) The Punt Road overpass and elevated section of road over the Yarra River and Gardiners Creek were designed by Melbourne engineer Bruce Day. The first and second stages were completed in 1971. Initially designated State Route 80 in the 1960s, it was later signed as Freeway Route 80 until 1988, when the South Eastern Arterial was completed.

South Eastern Arterial Road linkEdit

Traffic slowed to a crawl on the Monash Freeway in peak hour traffic

The resulting gap between the Toorak / Burke Road end of the South Eastern Freeway and the Warrigal Road end of the Mulgrave Freeway frustrated drivers for many years. Motorists had to rely on inadequate feeder roads to connect between the two freeways. Construction on a dual-carriageway at-grade road link between the two freeways began in the mid-1980s. The link opened to traffic on 21 December 1988 at a cost of A$152 million, originally with two lanes in each direction.[9] Soon after opening, the link, as well as the South Eastern Freeway and the Mulgrave Freeway, were renamed the South Eastern Arterial. This road assumed the National Route 1 route number from the Princes Highway, which became an alternative route.

The project attracted a great deal of controversy just before it opened and well afterwards: in order to save costs, only one freeway-style interchange had been constructed (underneath High Street in Glen Iris). Every other interchange with major roads along the route (Toorak, Burke, Tooronga and Warrigal Roads) was an at-grade intersection controlled by traffic-lights, and because the road was constructed through residential areas, reduced speed limits were also enforced. This led to heavy congestion, frequently kilometres long, on the freeway, fuelling anger and frustration, and even attracting a rather-apt moniker of "the South-Eastern Carpark".

With a change of government several years later and a lot of political showmanship, more money was poured into the link road, constructing underpass interchanges at Toorak and Burke Roads (and just an underpass at Tooronga Road). A new overpass across Warrigal Road was opened in June 1994, at a cost of $15m.[10] In 1997 the name changed from ‘South Eastern Arterial’ to ‘South Eastern Freeway’ after upgrade works, including noise reduction measures, new landscaping and improvements to the adjacent cycle path. The works cost a total of $112m. The official ‘opening’ was held on 20 March 1997.[11] The name later changed again to the now-current Monash Freeway, so named by Premier Kennett after General Sir John Monash, a renowned Australian soldier, engineer, scholar and nation builder. The improved road dramatically improved the rate of outbound traffic, however the bottleneck at the Swan Street Bridge still remained and the queues only got longer. A portion of the Monash Freeway at the city end (from Toorak to Punt Roads) was eventually incorporated into the CityLink (Toll road) project in the late 1990s by way of tunnels underneath the city to link to the eastern-end of the West Gate Freeway, allowing for an uninterrupted voyage past the CBD. Tolls were introduced to this section of the Monash Freeway between Toorak Road and Punt Road.

Hallam BypassEdit

Before this bypass was constructed, the sweeping curve of the freeway at the Hallam end that became the South Gippsland Freeway had its capacity reduced from three lanes to two, resulting in a notorious bottle-neck at peak hours, especially for outbound traffic exiting at the Princes Highway interchange outside Dandenong; the extension finally bypassed the entire problem.

The Monash Freeway was extended by 7.5 km in July 2003 when the Hallam Bypass was completed after 3 years of construction, linking the Monash Freeway to the Princes Freeway in Berwick. It opened 17 months ahead of schedule and A$10 million under budget (total cost A$165 million).[12] This was due to the omission of one key interchange that should have linked the South Gippsland Freeway with the Hallam Bypass at Eummemmering[citation needed]. This omission causes unnecessary congestion on neighbouring roads as northbound South Gippsland Freeway traffic must exit the freeway at Princes Highway only to join the same freeway again from Belgrave-Hallam Road eastbound.[citation needed]

The Monash Freeway allows travel from Morwell in the central Latrobe Valley, to Winchelsea south-west of Geelong - via CityLink, the West Gate, the Geelong Ring Road and Princes Freeways. Motorists can cover over 260 km and only encounter traffic lights at Yarragon and Trafalgar, which are yet to be bypassed. The construction of the bypass also included the Hallam Bypass Trail shared path.

2007 upgradeEdit

In 2007, the state government announced a major upgrade widening the lanes from Glenferrie Road through to Heatherton Road. Prior to this, over 160,000 vehicles per day used this freeway resulting in congestion during peak hours. The upgrade started in late 2007 and was completed in 2010. The entire project was known as the Monash-CityLink-West Gate upgrade, and was being carried out by VicRoads and Transurban.[13]

Route and conditionsEdit

The freeway officially begins at the southern end of CityLink, at Toorak Road. Here the freeway is five lanes wide. The opposing carriageways of the freeway are relatively near to each other and are separated by a concrete barrier. This section has overhead lighting. This first section of freeway runs through the south-eastern suburbs of Malvern, Glen Iris and Malvern East.

After Warrigal Road, the freeway is built within a much wider road reserve, allowing for a wide grass centre median with steel barrier separating the carriageways. This section does not have overhead lighting and carries four lanes on each carriageway. This section runs through south-eastern metropolitan Melbourne, including the suburbs of Chadstone, Mount Waverley, Mulgrave, Dandenong, Hallam, and finally, Narre Warren, where it becomes the Princes Freeway. The final section, the Pakenham bypass, is the newest stretch of the Monash Freeway, and has two lanes in each carriageway.

The M1 route also carries the recently developed VicRoads Traffic Management System which included Freeway On-Ramp metering (with road loops and signals), over-head speed limit and lane signs and electronic message boards; there are also various CCTV Cameras and Traffic sensors to monitor traffic flow and conditions constantly. Electronic 'Estimated Travel Time' boards are also used in conjunction with the sensors.

Standard travel time for the Monash Freeway / CityLink (Southern Link) in both directions, is 32 minutes. (7 minutes between Clyde Road and the South Gippsland Freeway, 5 minutes between the South Gippsland Freeway and EastLink, 8 minutes between EastLink and Warrigal Road, 5 minutes between Warrigal Road and Toorak Road and 7 minutes between Toorak Road and Kings Way - which is outside the Domain Tunnel on the West Gate Freeway).

The usual peak period travel time with traffic congestion is between 45–70 minutes. Some of the slowest intersections at these times include the EastLink interchange and the South Gippsland Freeway interchange. In times of extreme congestion, possibly residual traffic due to an incident, the travel time can quickly increase to as high as 110 minutes.

Exits and interchangesEdit

StonningtonKooyongMalvern boundary00.0E4    CityLink (M1) north / Toorak Road (State Route 26) – Melbourne, Toorak, Burwood, Melbourne AirportNorth-western freeway terminus: continues as CityLink (Toll road); single-point urban interchange
Glen Iris1.50.93E5  Burke Road (State Route 17) – Caulfield, Camberwell
2.61.6E6  High Street (State Route 24) – Glen Waverley, Glen IrisNorth-westbound entry and south-eastbound exit only
Stonnington–Monash boundaryMalvern EastChadstone boundary6.74.2E7  Warrigal Road (State Route 15) – Oakleigh, Chadstone
MonashChadstone–Mount Waverley boundary8.45.28  Huntingdale Road (State Route 47) – Huntingdale, BurwoodSouth-eastbound entry and north-westbound exit only
Mount Waverley10.56.59Forster Road – Clayton, Mount Waverley
Mount Waverley–Glen Waverley boundary11.77.310  Blackburn Road (State Route 13) – Edithvale, Blackburn
Mulgrave12.98.011  Ferntree Gully Road (State Route 22) – Ferntree Gully, Mount DandenongNorth-westbound entry and south-eastbound exit only
Mulgrave–Wheelers Hill boundary13.88.612  Springvale Road (State Route 40) – Springvale, Glen WaverleySouth-eastbound entry and north-westbound exit only
15.69.713  Wellington Road (State Route 18) – Rowville, Emerald, Oakleigh, OrmondNo access south-eastbound to westbound, westbound to south-eastbound, north-westbound to eastbound, or eastbound to north-westbound
Mulgrave18.011.214Jacksons Road – Mulgrave, Noble ParkNo north-westbound exit
Monash–Greater Dandenong boundaryMulgrave–Dandenong North boundary18.311.415  Police Road (State Route 16) – Springvale, Dandenong NorthNorth-westbound exit only
Greater DandenongDandenong North19.512.116  EastLink (M3) – Ringwood, FrankstonTom Wills Interchange; partial turbine interchange: no access northbound to south-eastbound or north-westbound to southbound
21.913.617  Stud Road (State Route 9) – Rowville, Dandenong
CaseyDovetonEndeavour Hills boundary23.714.718  Heatherton Road (State Route 14) – Dandenong North, Endeavour Hills
26.316.319  South Gippsland Freeway (M420) – Cranbourne, HastingsPartial semi-directional T interchange: no access northbound to south-eastbound
HallamNarre Warren North boundary28.217.520Belgrave–Hallam Road – Hallam, Endeavour Hills
Narre Warren29.918.621Ernst Wanke RoadNorth-westbound entry and south-eastbound exit only
32.220.022  Narre Warren North Road (C404) – Belgrave, Cranbourne
Narre Warren–Berwick boundary33.821.023    Princes Freeway (M1) south-east / Princes Highway (C101 east / Alternate National Route 1 west) – Warragul, Traralgon, Berwick, Narre WarrenSouth-eastern freeway terminus: continues as Princes Freeway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ F80 via South Eastern Freeway, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved 4 September 2013.[self-published source]
  2. ^ F81 via Mulgrave Freeway, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved 4 September 2013.[self-published source]
  3. ^ a b M1 - Monash Freeway, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved 4 September 2013.[self-published source]
  4. ^ a b c Country Roads Board Victoria. Sixtieth Annual Report: for the year ended 30 June 1973, Burwood, Victoria: Brown, Prior, Anderson, 1973. p. 5.
  5. ^ Country Roads Board Victoria. Sixty-First Annual Report: for the year ended 30 June 1974, Burwood, Victoria: Brown, Prior, Anderson, 1974. p. 4
  6. ^ a b Country Roads Board Victoria. Sixty-Fourth Annual Report: for the year ended 30 June 1977, Burwood, Victoria: Brown, Prior, Anderson, 1977. p. 7.
  7. ^ Country Roads Board Victoria. 67th Annual Report. 1979-1980, Kew, Victoria: Country Roads Board Victoria, 1980. p. 9.
  8. ^ Country Roads Board Victoria. 68th Annual Report. 1980-1981, Kew, Victoria: Country Roads Board Victoria, 1981. p. 11.
  9. ^ Road Construction Authority Victoria. Annual Report 1988-1989, Kew, Victoria: Road Construction Authority, Victoria, 1989. p. 45
  10. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 1993-94, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 1994, p. 12
  11. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 1996-97, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 1997, p. 13
  12. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 2003-04, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 2004, p. 25
  13. ^ "Vic Roads - Monash-CityLink-Westgate Upgrade". Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  14. ^ Google (4 June 2014). "Monash Freeway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 4 June 2014.