Adelaide–Crafers Highway

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Adelaide-Crafers Highway
South Australia
The highway viewed near the eastern portal of the Heysen Tunnels
General information
Type Freeway
Length 10 km (6 mi)
Route number(s) National Highway M1
Major junctions
West end Glen Osmond Road, Glen Osmond, Adelaide
East end South Eastern Freeway, Crafers, Adelaide
Major suburbs / towns Mount Osmond
Highway system
Highways in Australia
National HighwayFreeways in Australia
Highways in South Australia

The Adelaide–Crafers Highway is a 10 kilometre controlled-access highway linking Adelaide city centre to Crafers in the Adelaide hills, and continuing from Crafers as the South Eastern Freeway. The highway is ten kilometres long, including 500 metre long twin-tube tunnels (the Heysen Tunnels), the first of their kind on the National Highway. The road is signed as the Princes Highway for its entire route from Glen Osmond Road to the South Eastern Freeway. It is designated as the M1.


The Adelaide–Crafers Highway came as a much-needed upgrade and replacement to the previous link road, the Mount Barker Road,[1] which had been contoured to the Adelaide Hills, giving rise to many steep turns, ascending a tortuous route. The tightest hairpin turn on the Mount Barker Road became infamous as 'the Devils Elbow', often the site of car and semi-trailer accidents.

On 16 May 1995, Prime Minister Paul Keating announced the construction of the new freeway. The Heysen Tunnels, named after well-known South Australian artist and benefactor Hans Heysen, were completed in 1998. Construction was completed early 2000 and on 5 May 2000 Prime Minister John Howard opened the new road.[2] It was the largest South Australian road project, costing a total of A$151 million, wholly funded by the Australian Federal Government.


The Adelaide–Crafers Highway features 6 lanes of traffic, arrester beds and concrete median barriers, with street lighting through all 10 km.

Road safety[edit]

Shortly after the Adelaide-Crafers Freeway opened, several incidents involving semi-trailers drew media attention to the road: particularly after a high-profile media identity was involved in a near-fatal accident with a semi-trailer.[citation needed] While the previous Mount Barker Road was a notorious stretch, its dangers were well known - the new freeway presented the new challenge of a sustained continuous gradient. Heavy vehicles with inadequate braking found it hard to slow down once they had exceeded a certain speed; this was made worse with brake failures. It took some time, and the addition of several warning signs prior to the descent, for heavy vehicles to become familiar with the freeway's characteristics. Semi-trailers can been seen travelling as slow as 20–30 km/h downhill. In 2005 changeable electronic road signs were installed every 200 metres, so that the speed limit of the road can be adjusted from Transport SA headquarters in Adelaide. This has both improved safety for commuters, and emergency service workers like the Country Fire Service.

In 2010 and 2011, after several incidents involving trucks having problems successfully braking down the hill, one of which going into a bus stop, and another going straight through the intersection at the bottom, the government added new laws that any vehicle with 5 axles or more must stay in the left lane and must not exceed a 60 km/h limit from the interchange at Crafers to the old tollhouse. More Safety cameras are installed in an attempt to ensure trucks abide by this new limit.

Additional signs for the two arrester beds on the descent have also been added, to encourage out of control drivers to use them as a safer alternative.

In August 2014, another truck collided with many cars at the lower part of the highway, killing two people. Brake failure was suspected to be the cause of the accident.[3]

Exits and intersections[edit]

LGA Location km[4] Mile Destinations Notes
BurnsideUnleyAdelaide tripoint Glen OsmondUrrbraeMyrtle Bank tripoint 0 0 Glen Osmond Road (A1) north-west / Cross Road (A3) west / Portrush Road (National Highway A17) north – Adelaide, Glenelg, Payneham North-western highway terminus at traffic lights
Burnside Mount Osmond 2.2 1.4 Mount Osmond Road – Mount Osmond Four ramp parclo interchange
Mitcham Leawood Gardens 2.8–
Mount Barker Road – Eagle On The Hill South-eastbound exit and north-westbound entry only; location of the Devils Elbow on Mount Barker Road
Heysen Tunnels
Adelaide Hills Crafers West 6.7 4.2 Mount Barker Road – Eagle On The Hill North-westbound exit and south-eastbound entry only
Crafers 8.0 5.0 South Eastern Freeway (National Highway M1) south-east / Mount Lofty Scenic Drive – Murray Bridge, Melbourne, Crafers, Mount Lofty South-eastern highway terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Adelaide-Crafers Highway
Glen Osmond Road
Glen Osmond Road
Cross Road
Portrush Road
Old Toll House
End Freeway
Start Freeway
Arrester Bed
Mount Osmond Road
Mount Osmond Interchange
Devil's Elbow Interchange
Heysen Tunnels
Mount Barker Road
Arrester Bed
Eagle on the Hill Interchange
Continues from South Eastern Freeway
Continues as South Eastern Freeway


See also[edit]