Portal:Australian roads

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The Australian roads portal

Introduction

Historical photograph of a narrow road through vegetation
Road through the Australian bush c. 1895
Australia's earliest needs for trade and travel were met by narrow bush tracks, used by tribes of Indigenous Australians prior to European settlement. The formal construction of roads began in 1788 in the newly formed colony of New South Wales. 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, to manage each state's arterial road network. 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 of 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 rural roads in northern Queensland and Western Australia, and interstate routes upgraded. In 1974, the federal government assumed responsibility for funding the nation's most important road links, between state and territory capital cities, which were declared National Highways. Those roads were 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 In the following decades, the National Highway system was amended through legislation, and was eventually superseded in 2005 by the broader National Land Transport Network, which includes connections to major commercial centres, and intermodal freight transport facilities.

The first route marking system was introduced to Australia in the 1950s. National Routes were assigned to significant interstate routes – the most important road links in the country. National Route 1 was designated to a circular route around the Australian coastline. A state route marking system was designed to supplement the national system, for inter-regional and urban routes within states. When the National Highway system was introduced, National Routes along it became National Highway routes with the same numbers, but with distinctive green and gold route markers. During the late 1970s, planning began for a new alphanumeric route system in the state of Tasmania. Alphanumeric routes have since been introduced in most states and territories in Australia, partially or completely replacing the previous systems.

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Great Eastern Highway approaching the truck arrester bed near the bottom of Greenmount Hill

Great Eastern Highway is a 590-kilometre-long (370 mi) road linking the Western Australian capital of Perth with the city of Kalgoorlie. A key route for vehicles accessing the eastern Wheatbelt and the Goldfields, it is the western portion of the main road transportation link between Perth and the eastern states of Australia. The highway forms the majority of National Highway 94, with various segments are included in other road routes. The highway was created in the 1930s from an existing system of roads linking Perth with the Goldfields, though the name was coined to describe a different route from Perth to Guildford (modern-day Guildford Road). The Belmont section was constructed in 1867 using convict labour, with the road base made from sections of tree trunks. Over the years the road has been upgraded, with the whole highway sealed by 1953, segments reconstructed and widened, dual carriageways created in Perth and Kalgoorlie, and grade separated interchanges built at major intersections. A number of bypasses have been constructed, and a future route to replace Great Eastern Highway's current ascent of the Darling Scarp has been identified.

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International road news

Wikinews Roads portal
  • December 28: Israel transport minister Katz plans to name a railway station after US president Donald Trump
  • December 26: Russia: Runaway bus kills at least four in entrance to Moscow Metro station
  • November 27: Singapore announces driverless buses on public roads from 2022
  • September 24: Uber London to lose operator licence after September
  • August 11: Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads
  • July 7: Volvo announces all new car models electric or hybrid from 2019

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Did you know...

  • ... that the original Fremantle Traffic Bridge was built between 1863 and 1867 using convict labour?
  • ... that though planning began in the 1960s, the first stages of the Geelong Ring Road didn't open until 2007?
  • ... that on 4 April 2010, 18-year-old pilot Patrick Humphries made world headlines by using the normally busy Brooker Highway as an emergency landing strip?

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