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Portal:Australian roads

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The Australian roads portal

Introduction

Australia's National Highway
Australia's National Highway

Highways in Australia are generally high capacity roads managed by state and territory government agencies, though Australia's federal government contributes funding for important links between capital cities and major regional centres. Prior to European settlement, the earliest needs for trade and travel were met by narrow bush tracks, used by tribes of Indigenous Australians. The formal construction of roads began in 1788, after the founding of the colony of New South Wales, and a network of three major roads across the colony emerged by the 1820s. Similar road networks were established in the other colonies of Australia. Road construction programs in the early 19th century were generally underfunded, as they were dependent on government budgets, loans, and tolls; while there was a huge increase in road usage, due to the Australian gold rushes. Local government authorities, often known as Road Boards, were therefore established to be primarily responsible for funding and undertaking road construction and maintenance. The early 1900s saw both the increasingly widespread use of motorised transportation, and the creation of state road authorities in each state, between 1913 and 1926. These authorities managed each state's road network, with the main arterial roads controlled and maintained by the state, and other roads remaining the responsibility of local governments. The federal government became involved in road funding in the 1920s, distributing funding to the states. The depression of the 1930s slowed the funding and development of the major road network until the onset on World War II. Supply roads leading to the north of the country were considered vital, resulting in the construction of Barkly, Stuart, and Eyre Highways.

The decades following the war saw substantial improvements to the network, with freeways established in cities, many major highways sealed, development of roads in northern Queensland and Western Australia under the Beef Cattle Roads Grants Acts, and interstate routes between Sydney and Melbourne upgraded. In 1974, the federal government assumed responsibility for funding the nations most important road links, between state and territory capitals cities, which were declared National Highways. Some sections of the 16,000-kilometre-long (9,900 mi) National Highway system were no more than dirt tracks, while others were four lane dual carriageways. The network was gradually improved, and by 1989, all gravel road sections had been sealed. In the following decades, the National Highway system was amended through legislation, and was eventually superseded in 2005 by the broader National Land Transport Network, which included connections to major commercial centres, and intermodal freight transport facilities. Read more...

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Artist's impression of Majura Parkway and Majura Road alignments through Majura Valley

The Majura Parkway is an 11.5-kilometre-long (7.1 mi) north–south parkway in the Majura district of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It links at its northern end to the Federal Highway and Horse Park Drive at the edge of the Gungahlin district, and at its southern end to the Monaro Highway in Pialligo.

The parkway has been in planning since the 1970s and is considered as being an important access road to and from the Gungahlin district. It largely replaces Majura Road, which lacks the capacity to cope with future increases in traffic. Majura Road was largely retained to provide access to various facilities in the area. The parkway provides a more efficient transport link in the area and conveys a large numbers of freight vehicles. The project was jointly funded by the ACT and Australian Governments, at a total cost of A$288 million. Major construction works commenced in February 2013.

The end of construction for the Majura Parkway project was formally announced on Friday 22 April 2016 coinciding with the naming of the Malcolm Fraser Bridge, the most prominent feature of the project, which runs over the Molonglo River. The bridge's name was unveiled by Tamara 'Tamie' Fraser, wife of the former Prime Minister. Read more...

Selected video

Dorsett Road, a winding country road in Waroona, Western Australia

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Wanneroo Road 047 S Tuart Hill Lawley.jpg
Wanneroo Road, with Perth's CBD in the background

Did you know...

  • ... that the Canberra road Yarra Glen does not have one of the usual roadway suffixes because the name sounds better without them?
  • ... that part of High Street in Fremantle, Western Australia, was closed in the 1960s in order to reinstate Kings Square as a town square?
  • ... the decision to only use electronic toll collection for Melbourne's CityLink was made in 1992, at a time when there was little practical experience of such systems?

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