Calder Highway

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Calder Highway
New South WalesVictoria
Calder Freeway facing Mount Macedon
General information
Type Highway
Length 561 km (349 mi)
Route number(s)
  • B79 (2013-present)
    Silver City Highway - NSW/Vic. Border
  • A79 (1998-present)
    NSW/Vic. Border - Calder Freeway
  • M79 (1998-present)
  • south of Ravenswood South
  • Duplexes:
  • (1998-present)
    Bendigo - Harcourt
  • State Route 40
  • (Keilor - Niddrie)
route number
Major junctions
NW end
SE end
Major settlements Mildura, Ouyen, Charlton, Bendigo, Harcourt, Malmsbury, Kyneton, Woodend, Macedon, Gisborne, Diggers Rest, Sunbury
Highway system
Highways in Australia
National HighwayFreeways in Australia
Highways in New South Wales
Highways in Victoria

Calder Highway[3] is a highway in Australia, linking Melbourne in Victoria, to Bendigo and Mildura and the Victoria/New South Wales border on the way to Broken Hill. It continues through New South Wales to Broken Hill, Tibooburra and the New South Wales/Queensland border as the Silver City Highway, posted as route B79 as far as Broken Hill.[4][full citation needed]

The highway is called the Calder Freeway south of Bendigo where it has been upgraded to freeway-standard, superseding sections of the original Calder Highway. It has been extended in phases from the southern end to Ravenswood South subsuming the older Calder Highway stretches. The Victorian Government completed the duplication of the Calder Highway from Melbourne to Bendigo to freeway conditions on 20 April 2009.


The Calder Highway was named after William Calder, who was chairman of the Country Roads Board (CRB) from 1913 to 1928. The CRB was renamed Victorian Road Construction Authority and is today known as VicRoads.

The highway was originally allocated a National Route 79 shield. With Victoria's conversion to the newer alphanumeric system in the late 1990s this was altered to an A79 designation for the highway portion, M79 designation for the freeway portion into Melbourne, and the New South Wales section allocated B79 in 2013.

Originally, the Calder Highway (an undivided highway) started at the end of Keilor Road in Niddrie. In the early 1970s the road was upgraded to freeway standard together with the Tullamarine Freeway, ending in Keilor East in suburban Melbourne and rejoining the Calder Highway. By the early 1980s the Freeway was extended to Keilor and then rejoined the Calder Highway. However, it was not until the 1990s that work began to duplicate the rest of the highway to Bendigo.

The Calder Highway between the Melton Highway and the Western Ring Road is shown in the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan as part of the F4 Freeway corridor, which extends past the Tullamarine Freeway and Bell Street to Templestowe.[citation needed]


South of the Victoria/New South Wales border the highway is a two-lane, single carriageway in each direction, continuing through northwest Victoria from the Abbotsford Bridge, through Merbein to the major regional town of Mildura in the state's north-west. Here also it crosses the Sturt Highway (A20) leading to capital cities Adelaide heading west and Sydney heading east. Further south, it crosses the Mallee Highway (B12) at Ouyen and runs south-east eventually to Bendigo. Between Red Cliffs and Wycheproof the highway has a speed limit of 110 km/h.

The Calder Alternate Highway (A790) bypasses the Bendigo suburban area. Its southern end is just north of Ravenswood and the northern end is at Marong, west of Bendigo.

For most of its length from Ravenswood South to the junction with the Tullamarine Freeway in Melbourne, the Calder Freeway is a four lane dual carriageway freeway which bypasses the towns the old alignment of the highway used to serve. The Old Calder Highway has been designated C794 from where it leaves the new Calder Freeway at Ravenswood South.

The north-western end of the freeway is also duplexed with the A300 until south of Harcourt where the highway resumes south-westerly to the major regional centres of Castlemaine, Ballarat, and Geelong.

Towns bypassed by, but still accessible from, the Calder Freeway include: Harcourt, Elphinstone, Taradale, Malmsbury, Kyneton, Woodend, Macedon, Gisborne, and Diggers Rest.

It gains the State Route 40 shield at the Green Gully Road interchange in Keilor, which continues east onto the Tullamarine Freeway city-bound.

The freeway ends at the interchange with the Tullamarine Freeway, the main route from the central business district to Melbourne Airport. Continuing on the Tullamarine Freeway eventually brings vehicles onto CityLink, and thus, central Melbourne.

Within the urban section of the Calder Freeway (between Kings Road and the Tullamarine Freeway), the standard travel time, in each direction, is 10 minutes. (5 minutes between Kings Road and the Western Ring Road and 5 minutes between the Western Ring Road and the Tullamarine Freeway.

The usual peak period travel time, is between 9–13 minutes. However, when there is extreme congestion or roadworks, including being residual from an incident, the travel time can go beyond 13 minutes, sometimes upwards of 20 minutes plus.[citation needed]

Timeline of construction[edit]

  • 1972 - 1.2 miles with 3 lanes in each direction, opened from the Tullamarine Freeway/Lancefield Road to the Calder Highway at Niddrie. This section was opened 21 April 1972, by the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. A J Hunt, MLC, at a cost of $A3m.[5]
  • 1975 - Keilor East. 2 km from The Avenue to Erberus Street, opened December 1974 at a cost of A$2.5m.[6]
  • 1982 - 3.8 km from Erebus Street, Keilor Park (future location of the Western Ring Road interchange) to Arundel Road, Keilor, with two lanes each direction, plus emergency stopping lanes. Opened 18 May 1982 by Minister for Transport, the Hon S M Crabb MP at a cost of A$15.5m.[7]
  • 1984 – Keilor bypass. Bendigo-bound carriageway opened 17 April 1984, from Arundel Road to west of Oakbank Road. The opening of this carriageway completed the bypass of Keilor. The cost of the entire bypass from Erebus Street to west of Oakbank Road was A$30m.[8]
  • 1989 – Gisborne bypass opened 17 March 1989. The 6 km bypass cost A$25m.[9]
  • 1990/1991 – Oakbank Road, Keilor North to Duncans Lane, Diggers Rest. 7.7 km of newly duplicated ‘2 lane carriageway’ opened to traffic at a cost of A$14m. No exact date was given, however VicRoads Annual Reports cover the previous financial year.[10]
  • 1991/1992 – 2 km of duplication completed at Ravenswood during 1991/1992 at a cost of A$1.3m.[11]
  • 1993 - Diggers Rest bypass. $A32m 6.5 km bypass opened to traffic in July 1993, followed by the Vinyard Road interchange in November 1993.[12]
  • 1994 – Ravenswood section. Duplication of the highway completed ‘in 1994’[12]
  • 1995 - Kyneton bypass opened to traffic in April 1995, at a cost of A$31m.[13]
  • 1996 - Gap Hill section (Diggers Rest to Millett Road). Opened in May 1996, at a cost of A$32m.[14]
  • 1998 - Gisborne South to Gisborne. 6 km completed at a cost of A$31 and opened to traffic on 3 April 1998.[15]
  • 2000 - Gisborne to Woodend (Black Forest section). 6.8 km section opened to traffic on 17 March 2000. Completed at a cost of A$51m.[16]
  • 2001 - Woodend bypass. 13.5 km bypass opened to traffic on 19 December 2001. The total cost of the project was A$85m.[17]
  • 2003 - Carlsruhe section. 6.5 km section opened to traffic on 16 April 2003, at a cost of A$46m. This section completed the dual carriageways from Keilor to Kyneton.[18]
  • 2005 – 2.5 km north of Kyneton completed in January 2005.[19]
  • 2005 – Ravenswood. 6.5 km duplication south of Ravenswood completed in May 2005[19]
  • 2008 – 15 km Malmsbury section opened in April 2008.[20]
  • 2009 – Harcourt North to Elphinstone opened on 20 April 2009. This 19 km section cost A$404m and completed the duplication of the highway between Melbourne and Bendigo. The project was jointly funded by the state and federal governments.[21]


Calder Highway / Calder Alternative Route intersection[edit]

The upgrade of the intersection of the Calder Highway and Calder Alternate Route at Ravenswood, is being funded jointly by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments. It began construction in February 2016 with completion anticipated by the end of 2017.[22][23]

Western Ring Road to Kings Road[edit]

In 2008, VicRoads completed the widening of the Calder Freeway from the Western Ring Road to Melton Highway. The road was widened from 2 lanes each direction to 3 lanes in each direction. The speed limit was reduced permanently from 100 km/h to 80 km/h.[24] The 80 km/hr limit applies northbound from Keilor Park Drive to the Service Centre at Calder Park, and southbound it applies from the Green Gully Road bridge to just prior to the Western Ring Road interchange. In October 2010, it was announced that as part of a year long trial, the speed limit on this section of freeway will be increased back to 100 km/h in off-peak times (8pm-5am), with 30 variable speed limits{{subst:clarify}} to be installed along the stretch of freeway. As of 2011, the section combined with State Route 40 (or essentially Keilor Park Dve to Kings Road) is permanently signed at 80 km/h - with slight differences (as noted) inbound and outbound. A further upgrade completed in 2012 resulted in a new interchange at Kings Road (the freeways's urban / metropolitan limits) and closure of three at grade intersections in the area. Despite the upgrade the 80 km/h speed limit remains today.[when?]

Gallery of notable sights[edit]

Major Intersections and Towns[edit]

State LGA Location km[25] mi Destinations Notes
New South Wales Wentworth Curlwaa 565 351 Silver City Highway (B79) – Wentworth, Broken Hill, Euston
Murray River 564.5 350.8 Abbotsford Bridge
State border New South Wales – Victoria state border
Victoria Mildura Merbein 553.5 343.9 Ranfurly Way (C256) – Mildura
Mildura 544 338 Sturt Highway (A20) – Renmark, Adelaide
541 336 Sturt Highway (A20) – Mildura, Balranald, Sydney
539 335 Benetook Avenue – Buronga
Irymple 537 334
Red Cliffs 528 328
526 327 Millewa Road – Werrimull, Meringur
525 326 Kulkyne Way – Colignan
Hattah 476 296 Hattah-Robinvale Road (C252) – Robinvale
Ouyen 440.8 273.9 Mallee Highway (B12) – Piangil, Swan Hill, Balranald, Sydney
440.7 273.8 Mallee Highway (B12) – Pinnaroo, Murray Bridge, Adelaide
430 270 Sunraysia Highway (B220) – Birchip, Horsham, St Arnaud, Ballarat
Mittyack 404 251
Buloke Bimbourie 371 231 Patchewollock-Sea Lake Road (C248) – Patchewollock
Sea Lake 356 221 Robinvale-Sea Lake Road (C251) – Robinvale
352 219 Sea Lake-Swan Hill Road (C246) – Swan Hill concurrent with C246 through Sea Lake
351.5 218.4 Birchip-Sea Lake Road (C246) – Woomelang, Birchip
Dumosa 291 181 Donald-Swan Hill Road – Swan Hill, Donald
Wycheproof 276 171 Birchip-Wycheproof Road (C268) – Birchip
275 171 Boort-Wycheproof Road – Boort
Wycheproof South 269 167 St Arnaud-Wycheproof Road – St Arnaud
Charlton 246 153 Borung Highway (C239)
245 152 Charlton-St Arnaud Road (C272) – St Arnaud
244 152 Boort-Charlton Road – Boort, Kerang
Loddon Wedderburn 213.7 132.8 Boort-Wedderburn Road (C273) – Boort, Kerang concurrent with C273 past Wedderburn oval
213.5 132.7 Logan-Wedderburn Road (C273) – Logan, St Arnaud
Inglewood 185 115
Bridgewater 178 111 Bridgetwater-Dunolly Road and Bridgewater-Serpentine Road – Dunolly, Maryborough, Serpentine, Kerang
177 110 Bridgewater-Maldon Road (C282) – Maldon, Castlemaine
Greater Bendigo Marong 155 96 Calder Alternative Highway – Wimmera Highway St Arnaud, Horsham
Golden Square 155 96 Golden Square-Long Gully Road (C323) – Golden Square, Long Gully, Eaglehawk
Ironbark 153 95 Loddon Valley Highway (B260) – Eaglehawk, Kerang
152.4 94.7 Eaglehawk Road – White Hills, Echuca, Shepparton
Bendigo 150 93
concurrent with A300
Golden Square 147.4 91.6 Bendigo ring route – Long Gully, Eaglehawk, Deborah Triangle, Quarry Hill
Kangaroo Flat 145 90 Bendigo-Maryborough Road – Maryborough
Ravenswood 135 84 Calder Alternative Highway – Marong, Mildura
Harcourt North 126 78 Old Calder Highway – Harcourt, Elphinstone, Taradale Continues as Calder Freeway
Mount Alexander Ravenswood SouthHarcourt North boundary 0 0.0 Calder Highway (A79 / A300) north / Old Calder Highway (C794) east / Fogartys Gap Road west – Bendigo, Harcourt Northern freeway terminus: continues as Calder Highway; at-grade intersection
Barkers CreekHarcourt boundary 5.8 3.6 Midland Highway (A300 south-west) – Harcourt, Castlemaine, Ballarat A300 southern concurrency terminus
Elphinstone 18.3 11.4 Pyrenees Highway (B180) – Castlemaine, Metcalfe
Macedon Ranges Malmsbury 32.8 20.4 Old Calder Highway (C794) west / Malmsbury East Road east – Malmsbury, Taradale, Elphinstone, Edgecombe
Kyneton 36.1 22.4 Burton Avenue (C793) – Kyneton At-grade intersection
41.2 25.6 Edgecombe Road (C326 north) – Kyneton, Heathcote
43.6 27.1 Bourke Street (C793) west / Trio Road east –Kyneton Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
Carlsruhe 18.4 11.4 Springvale Road – Carlsruhe
Woodend North 51.6 32.1 Macedon–Woodend Road (C792) – Woodend Southbound exit and northbound entrance only
Woodend 56.8 35.3 Lancefield–Woodend Road (C324) – Lancefield, Woodend
Macedon 64.2 39.9 Macedon–Woodend Road (C792) – Macedon, Woodend
70.5 43.8 Mount Macedon Road (C322) north-east / Macedon–Woodend Road (C792) north-west – Mount Macedon, Macedon Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
GisborneNew Gisborne boundary 72.6 45.1 Station Road (C708 north / C791 south) – Riddells Creek, Gisborne, Bacchus Marsh, Melton
Gisborne 75.5 46.9 Melbourne Road (C791) west / Emmeline Drive east – Gisborne
Macedon Ranges–Hume boundary Gisborne SouthSunbury boundary 81.5 50.6 Couangalt Road west / Mundy Road east – Gisborne South, Sunbury
Hume–Melton boundary Sunbury–Diggers Rest boundary 86.5 53.7 Gap Road (C707) – Sunbury
91.5 56.9 Vineyard Road (C706) – Sunbury, Diggers Rest
Diggers Rest 94.7 58.8 Bulla–Diggers Rest Road – Bulla, Diggers Rest
Brimbank Calder ParkKeilor North boundary 97.8–
Holden Road west – Toolern Vale Northbound exit and entrance; northbound and southbound access to service centres
99.8 62.0 Organ Pipes Road – Organ Pipes National Park At-grade intersection
101 63 Calder Park Drive – Calder Park Northbound exit and entrance only
Keilor North–Taylors Lakes boundary 102 63 Kings Road – Taylors Lakes, Deer Park, Laverton
Keilor North–Keilor Lodge boundary 104 65 Sunshine Avenue (State Route 41) – Taylors Lakes Northbound exit and entrance only
Keilor 105 65 Melton Highway (C754) – Taylors Lakes, Melton Partial Y interchange: northbound exit and southbound entrance
107 66 Green Gully Road (State Route 40) south / Arundel Road north – Keilor, St Albans North-westbound exit and south-eastbound entrance only; State Route 40 north-western concurrency terminus
Keilor ParkKeilor East boundary 110 68 Keilor Park Drive (State Route 40) to Western Ring Road (M80) – Keilor Park, Avondale Heights, Avalon Airport No north-westbound exit
111 69 Western Ring Road – north-east to Seymour, Sydney, Melbourne Airport; south-west to Geelong, Ballarat, Adelaide, Avalon Airport Incomplete access: no exit north-westbound to north-eastbound or south-eastbound to south-westbound, no entrance south-westbound to south-eastbound or north-westbound to north-eastbound; access from north-westbound exit to Keilor Park Drive
Moonee Valley Keilor East–Airport West boundary 112 70 Woorite Place – Keilor East, Airport West North-westbound exit and south-eastbound entrance only
Airport West–Niddrie boundary 113 70 Fullarton Road / McNamara Avenue – Niddrie South-eastbound entrance and exit only
113.3 70.4 Keilor Road / Newman Street – Niddrie North-westbound entrance and exit only
113.7 70.6 Bulla Road (State Route 37) – Essendon North-westbound exit and south-eastbound entrance
Airport West–Niddrie–Essendon FieldsEssendon North quadripoint 114 71 Tullamarine Freeway (M2 north & east / State Route 43 east) – Melbourne Partial Y interchange: no access eastbound to northbound or southbound to westbound

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Routes, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved on 26 August 2013.[self-published source]
  2. ^ Freeway Route Numbering System, Main Roads Victoria. Retrieved on 26 August 2013.[self-published source]
  3. ^ Calder Freeway & Calder Highway (M/A79), Expressway - Paul Rands. Retrieved on 11 September 2013.[self-published source]
  4. ^ Silver City Highway, Tibooburra, 2007-12-25 
  5. ^ Country Roads Board Victoria. Fifty-Ninth Report: for the year ended 30th June, 1972, Burwood, Victoria: Brown, Prior, Anderson, 1972. p. 5
  6. ^ Country Roads Board Victoria. Sixty-Second Annual Report: for the year ended 30th June, 1975, Burwood, Victoria: Brown, Prior, Anderson, 1975. p. 5.
  7. ^ Country Roads Board Victoria. 69th Annual Report. 1981-1982, Kew, Victoria: Country Roads Board Victoria, 1982. p. 11
  8. ^ Road Construction Authority Victoria. 1st Annual Report 1983-84, Kew, Victoria: Road Construction Authority, Victoria, 1984. p. 10
  9. ^ Road Construction Authority Victoria. Annual Report 1988-1989, Kew, Victoria: Road Construction Authority, Victoria, 1989. p. 46
  10. ^ VicRoads. VicRoads Annual Report, 1990-1991, Kew, Victoria: VicRoads, 1991, p. 37
  11. ^ VicRoads. VicRoads Annual Report, 1991-1992, Kew, Victoria: VicRoads, 1992, p. 42
  12. ^ a b Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 1993-94, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 1994, p. 16
  13. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 1994-95, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 1995, p. 9
  14. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 1995-96, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 1996, p. 15
  15. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 1997-98, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 1998, p. 33
  16. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 2000-01, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 2000, p. 27
  17. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 2001-02, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 2002, p. 33
  18. ^ Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 2002-03, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 2003, p. 13
  19. ^ a b Vicroads. Vicroads Annual Report 2004-05, Kew, Victoria: Vicroads, 2005, p. 33
  20. ^ VicRoads. VicRoads Annual Report 2007-08, Kew, Victoria: VicRoads, 2008, p. 35
  21. ^ VicRoads. VicRoads Annual Report 2008-09, Kew, Victoria: VicRoads, 2009, p. 41
  22. ^ "Ravenswood Interchange". VicRoads. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  23. ^ Luke Donnellan, Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Government of Victoria (1 April 2016). "New Ravenswood Interchange moving ahead with CPB contractors". Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  24. ^ Gardiner, Ashley (12 June 2008). "Freeway slowdown to ease traffic jams in Melbourne". Herald Sun. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  25. ^ Google (20 January 2015). "Calder Highway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 20 January 2015.