Northern Connector

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Northern Connector
South Australia
Northern Connector is located in Greater Adelaide
North end
North end
South end
South end
General information
Type Freeway  (Under construction)
Length 15 km (9.3 mi)
Route number(s) M2 (proposed)
Major junctions
North end
South end
Major suburbs / towns Dry Creek, Globe Derby Park, Bolivar, St Kilda
Highway system

The Northern Connector (proposed route M2) is a 15 kilometre long expressway under construction in Adelaide, South Australia. It will connect the North-South Motorway (National Highway M2) at Wingfield to the Northern Expressway (M2) (also known as the Max Fatchen Expressway) as part of an ongoing plan to develop a continuous freeway grade road between Old Noarlunga and Nuriootpa known as the North–South Corridor. The road will be built with three lanes in each direction and provide a faster, safer and less congested route over the section of the North-South Corridor between South Road and the Northern Expressway.[1] Construction began in January 2016 with completion in December 2019.

This involves the construction of a complex interchange at the Port River Expressway / North-South Motorway intersection.[2] The original plan also included a major diversion in the main ARTC interstate rail line, which would use the same corridor between Dry Creek, South Australia and Taylors Road at Waterloo Corner, however this is not being built with the road.

2008 plans

In early 2008, the South Australian Government announced plans for the Northern Connector, an eight lane connector roadway, linking the Northern Expressway and South Road, with three intermediate interchanges.[3] This would involve the construction of a four-way cloverstack interchange at the Port River Expressway / South Road intersection. The project would also include a major diversion in the main ARTC interstate rail line, which would run down the middle of the new connector freeway between Dry Creek, South Australia and Taylors Road at Waterloo Corner.[2]

The federal government proposed that it could be the state's first toll road.[4]

September 2015 announcement

On 14 September 2015, the Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill and Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott announced that the road component of the project would start construction in early 2016. The federal government will provide A$788M towards an expected total cost of A$985M. The project is now only three lanes each way (was four in 2008 announcement), and only two intermediate interchanges (Globe Derby Park interchange will not be built in 2015 plans). The road will not be subject to direct tolls, but South Australia will become a testing ground for a "network fee" which involves charging trucks based on road use and impact in place of high registration fees.[5] This construction includes the road and shared path, but not the rail component.[6] The rail corridor would now be reserved on the western side of the road, rather than down the median strip.

Preliminary works

Part of the early work for the project involved realigning the intersection at Kings Road and Bolivar Road. Kings Road is a significant cross-suburban route (State Route A18) feeding from McIntyre Road past Parafield Airport. It terminated at a T-junction with Bolivar Road only 300 metres (980 ft) from the Bolivar Road and Port Wakefield Road intersection. Prior to the main Northern Connector construction, the intersection was realigned so that they meet at a new two-lane roundabout constructed on previously vacant land south of the former intersection. Kings Road became the main road that continued to the intersection at Port Wakefield Road, and beyond to the Northern Connector interchange.[7]

Prime contractors for the main road design and construction were shortlisted to Lend Lease and a consortium of Leighton Contractors and York Civil. These two bidders were invited to tender for the complete works in December 2015 after having responded to an open call for expressions of interest in October. It was expected that the contract would be awarded to one of these bidders before major construction began in May 2016 with completion anticipated in December 2019.[8]

In January 2016, work was commenced carting earth and brine mud to build embankments across the former salt flats. This is required to allow it to settle properly before the road can be built on top.[9]


Lend Lease Engineering were awarded the contract, with actual construction expected to commence in July 2016, to be completed by mid/late-2019. The announcement included support for other sectors of the South Australian economy, with a requirement that 7500 tonnes of steel would be sourced from Arrium and at least half of the workers hired from the northern suburbs of Adelaide where other industries are reducing workforce - notably Holden will be ceasing local production of cars in 2017.[10]

In November 2016, it was announced that the majority of the road surface would be concrete, rather than asphalt which is used on most roads in South Australia. This was expected to have a slightly higher up-front cost, but significantly lower maintenance costs over 30 years.[11]

Major construction was announced to have started on 6 December 2016, with completion anticipated in December 2019.[12] There will be a total of nine bridges required to be constructed. The Southern Interchange will require three bridges; The Bolivar and Waterloo Corner Interchanges each require a bridge; the northern interchange requires a new bridge; the road will cross North Arm Creek, Dry Creek and Little Para River.[13]

The project was divided into six zones. Zone 1 containing the northern interchange was let to McMahon Services. Zone 2 contains the Waterloo Corner interchange, and is let to LR&M Constructions. Zone 3 contains the Bolivar interchange and bridge over the Little Para River and is subcontracted to Catcon. Zone 4 is the Bolivar intersection with Port Wakefield Road, let to S.E.M. Group. Zone 5 crosses Dry Creek and the salt pans. Zone six is the southern interchange. Zones 5 and 6 are both managed directly by Lendlease. The shared use path along the eastern side of the road will be constructed by Intract Indigenous Contractors.[13]:47

The raw materials to make the concrete for the road will be supplied by Adelaide Brighton Cement, and mixed on-site. The road will be reinforced with steel from Liberty OneSteel and asphalt will be supplied by Boral.[14]

Proposed exits

LGA Location km mi Name Destinations[15] Notes
Playford Waterloo Corner 0 0.0 Port Wakefield Road Northern Expressway (National Highway M2) north-east / Port Wakefield Road (National Highway A1) north – Elizabeth, Gawler, Adelaide, Dry Creek Northern extent
Salisbury Waterloo Corner Interchange Waterloo Corner Road (extended west of current end at Port Wakefield Road) – Salisbury, St Kilda
Bolivar Bolivar Interchange Kings Road (A18, extended southwest of current end) – Parafield Gardens, Paralowie Bolivar and Kings roads realigned to the east
Port Adelaide Enfield Dry CreekWingfield boundary 15 9.3 Port River Expressway Interchange North-South Motorway (M2) south / Port River Expressway (A9) west / Salisbury Highway (A9) east – Regency Park, Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Dry Creek southern extent
  •       Route transition
  •       Unopened

See also


  1. ^ "Northern Connector". Infrastructure S.A. 15 August 2014. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b "northern connector" (PDF). Infrastructure S.A. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  3. ^ "Northern Connector". Infrastructure S.A. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  4. ^ Schultz, Duane (13 August 2013). "Federal Government push to make $1.1bn Northern Connector South Australia's first toll road". News Review Messenger. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  5. ^ Jean, Peter; Starick, Paul (14 September 2015). "Northern Connector Work to Start on Crucial $985 Million Adelaide Road Link". The Advertiser. News Corp. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Northern Connector Project". Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure South Australia. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Kings/Bolivar Intersection Realignment". Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, Government of South Australia. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Northern Connector contract shortlisted to two tenderers". Government of South Australia. Retrieved 2 May 2016 – via AEOL. [Minister Stephen Mullighan said] "The contract will be awarded ahead of the start of major works in May 2016 and the project is scheduled for completion in December 2019."
  9. ^ Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects (6 January 2016). "Closing the gap with North-South Corridor jobs" (Press release). Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  10. ^ Novak, Lauren (31 May 2016). "Lendlease Engineering chosen to build and construct Northern Connector, work to start next month". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  11. ^ Starick, Paul (16 November 2016). "$985 million Northern Connector to be South Australia's first major concrete road, creating more jobs". The Advertiser. News Corp (published 17 November 2016). Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  12. ^ Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure; Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia; Stephen Mullighan, SA Transport and Infrastructure Minister (6 December 2016). "Major construction begins on Northern Connector project" (PDF) (Press release). Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Northern Connector Project Breakfast". Industry Capability Network. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Three contracts awarded on $885M Northern Connector". Trailer Magazine. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  15. ^ Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. "The Northern Connector proposed road and rail route". Government of South Australia. Archived from the original on 15 May 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2015. Additional archives: 26 February 2015.
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