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

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...

Selected article

Forrest Highway is a 95-kilometre-long (59 mi) highway in Western Australia's Peel and South West regions, extending Perth's Kwinana Freeway from east of Mandurah down to Bunbury. Old Coast Road was the original Mandurah–Bunbury route, dating back to the 1840s. Part of that road, and the Australind Bypass around Australind and Eaton, were subsumed by Forrest Highway. The highway begins at Kwinana Freeway's southern terminus in Ravenswood, continues around the Peel Inlet to Lake Clifton, and heads south to finish at Bunbury's Eelup Roundabout. There are a number of at-grade intersections with minor roads in the shires of Murray, Waroona, and Harvey including Greenlands Road and Old Bunbury Road, both of which connect to South Western Highway near Pinjarra.

Since the 1980s, the state government has been upgrading the main Perth to Bunbury route, by extending Kwinana Freeway south from Perth, and constructing a dual carriageway on Old Coast Road north of Bunbury, including bypasses around Australind and Dawesville. A bypass was also planned around Mandurah, which underwent detailed environmental reviews and assessments in the 1990s and early 2000s. Construction of the New Perth Bunbury Highway project, which became Forrest Highway and the final Kwinana Freeway extension, began in December 2006, and the new highway was opened on 20 September 2009. Within one year of opening, the number of road accidents in the area had decreased significantly, but tourism and businesses in the towns on bypassed routes were also affected. There are few services alongside the highway, although as of June 2015 a pair of roadhouses are planned near Greenlands Road. In June 2014, Forrest Highway was extended south to Bunbury by renaming much of Old Coast Road as well as Australind Bypass as part of the highway. Read more...

Selected video

Entering Forrest Highway from the Pinjarra Road interchange

In the news

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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