Princes Motorway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Princes Motorway
F6 Freeway / Southern Freeway
New South Wales
Southern Freeway, near Helensburgh NSW.jpg
Princes Motorway near Helensburgh
Princes Motorway is located in New South Wales
Princes Motorway
Princes Motorway
General information
Length55.4 km (34 mi)[1]
Route number(s)
  • M1
  • Entire route
route number
  • National Route 1
  • (mid 1980s-2013)
  • F6
  • (1975-mid 1980s)
Major junctions
North end
South end
Major suburbs / townsHelensburgh, Wollongong, Figtree, Dapto
Highway system

The Princes Motorway, formerly known as the Southern Freeway[2] is a 55-kilometre (34 mi)[1] predominately dual carriage untolled motorway that links Sydney to Wollongong and further south through the Illawarra region to Albion Park Rail. Part of the Australian Highway 1 network, the motorway is designated with the route number M1. It is sometimes known by its previous signposting F6 (Freeway Route 6).

As Wollongong and Port Kembla are important industrial centres, freight traffic is heavy. Despite the current decline of the local steel industry, emergence of Wollongong as a commuter city of Sydney has kept the freeway and the adjacent Mount Ousley Road busy.


In the north, the Princes Motorway route starts at Waterfall, taking more or less a parallel route with Princes Highway until the sprawling Bulli Tops interchange (with Appin Road (State Route 69) and Princes Highway). There it continues downhill, avoiding the steep Bulli Pass, and bypasses Wollongong CBD, through Gwynneville and continues for 20 kilometres (12 mi), bypassing the suburb of Yallah, and rejoining the Princes Highway north of Albion Park Rail near the Princes Highway junction with the Illawarra Highway.

From its opening on 24 July 1975, the Waterfall to Bulli Tops section of the then Southern Freeway incurred a toll.[3] This part of the freeway did not feature the Helensburgh Interchange (which subsequently opened in February 2000). The toll operated for 20 years, which was 10 years short of its intended operating length. The main reason for this was local residents complaining that the F3 Freeway (now Pacific Motorway) had their toll dropped in 1988, which was at the time intended to be dropped as its loans had been fully paid off unlike those of the F6.

After much pressure the toll for the F6 freeway was removed on 30 July 1995 as the loans had been repaid. Remnants of the tollbooths are still able to be seen at the old toll plaza at Waterfall. One of the lanes and very faint markings are still intact. Heading southbound one set of warning lights to slow down for the toll plaza are also still intact minus signage.

In early 2013, as part of the New South Wales alphanumeric route conversion process, the road name changed from the Southern Freeway to the Princes Motorway. The new name was also applied to what was formerly known as Mount Ousley Road.[4]

In November 2015, it was announced that the section between Bulli Tops and Picton Road would have a third lane added in each direction.[5]

Exits and interchanges[edit]

The northern terminus of the Princes Motorway looking south from Waterfall, pictured in 2007, prior to the roadway being designated as the M1.
An aerial view of the southern terminus of the Princes Motorway, pictured in 2008, looking south with Yallah in the bottom left corner and Lake Illawarra mid-left.
SutherlandWaterfall00.0 Princes Highway (A1) – Sutherland, Heathcote, Sydney CBD, Sydney AirportNorthern terminus; continues north as the Princes Highway
00.0Princes Highway  – Woronora Dam, HelensburghNorthbound entrance and southbound exit only
WollongongHelensburgh6.494.03Exit to Lawrence Hargrave Drive – Helensburgh, Stanwell Tops, Stanwell Park, OtfordSouthbound exit only
7.14.4Entrance via Lawrence Hargrave Drive – Helensburgh, Stanwell Tops, Stanwell Park, OtfordSouthbound entrance only
7.44.6Princes Highway – Helensburgh, Stanwell Tops, Stanwell Park, OtfordNorthbound entrance only
7.84.8Princes Highway – Helensburgh, Stanwell Tops, Stanwell Park, OtfordNorthbound exit only
Thirroul18.511.5Princes Highway – Sublime Point Lookout and Maddens Plains, Bulli, CorrimalSouthbound exit only
19.312.0Princes Highway – Sublime Point Lookout, Maddens Plains, Bulli and CorrimalSouthbound entrance only
2113 Appin Road (B69) – Appin, CampbelltownSouthbound exit and northbound entrance only
Balgownie30.118.7 Picton Road (B88) - PictonNorthbound entrance only
30.418.9 Picton Road (B88) - PictonSouthbound and northbound exits only
30.919.2 Picton Road (B88) - PictonSouthbound entrance only
31.319.4Clive Bissell Drive - Mount KeiraNorthbound exit and entrance only
34.221.3New Mount Pleasant Road - Balgownie, Fairy MeadowSouthbound exit only
Mount Ousley35.722.2Mount Ousley Road - Mount Ousley to Princes Highway and Memorial Drive (B65)Southbound exit only
35.822.2Mount Ousley Road - Mount Ousley from Princes Highway and Memorial Drive (B65)Northbound and southbound entrances only
Keiraville36.022.4Northfields Avenue - University of Wollongong, Keiraville, GwynnevilleNorthbound entrance and northbound exit to both Northfields Avenue and Irvine Street only
36.222.5University Avenue - University of Wollongong, Keiraville, GwynnevilleSouthbound exit and entrance only
Gwynneville36.522.7 Memorial Drive (B65) - North Wollongong, GwynnevilleNorthbound entrance and southbound entrance only
36.822.9To Memorial Drive (B65) - North Wollongong, GwynnevilleSouthbound exit only
Mangerton38.724.0Princes Highway - Wollongong, FigtreeNorthbound entrance and exit; southbound exit and entrance
Figtree39.924.8Masters Drive - Spring Hill, Port Kembla, WollongongNorthbound entrance and southbound exit only
40.625.2Masters Drive - Spring Hill, Port Kembla, WollongongSouthbound entrance only
Unanderra4226Five Islands Road - Unanderra, Port KemblaNorthbound entrance and exit; and southbound exit and entrance
Berkeley45.128.0Northcliffe Drive - Kembla Grange, Warrawong, Port KemblaNorthbound entrance and exit; southbound exit and entrance
Kanahooka47.829.7Kanahooka Road - Dapto, Kanahooka, KoonawarraNorthbound entrance and southbound exit only
Dapto49.530.8Fowlers Road - Dapto, KoonawarraNorthbound entrance and southbound exit only
ShellharbourYallah52.732.7Exit to Princes Highway – Yallah, DaptoNorthbound exit only
53.333.1Princes Highway – Yallah, DaptoSouthbound entrance only
Haywards Bay54.333.7Yalla Road from Princes Highway; to Haywards Bay Drive – Haywards BayNorthbound entrance and southbound exit only
54.734.0To Yalla Road; from Haywards Bay Drive – Haywards BayNorthbound exit and southbound entrance only
Albion Park Rail55.434.4 Princes Highway (A1) – Illawarra Regional Airport, Kiama, Nowra and Melbourne, VictoriaSouthern terminus; continues south as the Princes Highway
55.434.4 Illawarra Highway (A48) – Robertson, Sutton ForestWestbound as the Illawarra Highway (A48) to the Hume Highway (M31)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Proposed extension[edit]

Captain Cook Bridge
Taren Point Road
The six-lane Captain Cook Bridge (connecting Sans Souci to Taren Point) and a short joining section of Taren Point Road to the south are the only parts of the extension to be built

The County of Cumberland Scheme of 1948 outlined an F6 extension from the current-day end-point at Waterfall.[6] As such, an F6 corridor was set aside that passes through the Royal National Park from Waterfall to Campbell Road in St Peters. The land reservation tract currently passes through the suburbs of Loftus, Kirrawee, Gymea, Miranda, Taren Point, Sandringham, Sans Souci, Ramsgate, Monterey, Kogarah, Brighton-Le-Sands, Rockdale, Banksia, Arncliffe, Kyeemagh and Tempe.[7]

Of the proposed extension, only the six-lane Captain Cook Bridge and a short connecting section of Taren Point Road to the south have been built. Establishment of the bridge section of the F6 extension began in 1962, expedited to replace the ferry service that had operated from Taren Point to Sans Souci since 1916. Captain Cook Bridge was opened for general use in May 1965.[8]

In the original plan, the F6 would connect to the Western Distributor.[9] Then, in August 1977, premier Neville Wran cancelled the inner section of the F6 link, which at the time had an estimated construction cost of $96 million.[8] At the same time, Wran announced that the inner section reservation would be sold off and the proposed extension would instead terminate at St Peters, a medium density industrial suburb.[8][10][11]

Prior to the 2007 federal election, the Liberal-Nationals (Coalition) promised to allocate A$20 million towards planning for the F6 extension.[12] Although the Coalition did not win the 2007 election,[13] the funding was once again promised at the subsequent 2010 federal election. This funding would ensure the project is "shovel ready" when funding becomes available.[14]

As part of modifications made during the planning stage of the WestConnex project, stub tunnels will be added to the "New M5" tunnel to allow for an extension connection to it by the F6 extension.[15][16] In June 2016 the Roads & Maritime Services commenced geotechnical analysis to determine underground rock and soil conditions on the former F6 corridor from Waterfall to the Sydney Orbital Network at Rockdale with a view into developing a possible link between the Princes Motorway and the Orbital Network.[17] It was further reported in October 2016 that any extension would be known as SouthConnex.[18]

In 2017, it was revealed that the Liberal state government had reviewed a 3.6 billion dollar train tunnel between Thirroul and Waterfall on the South Coast Line that could reduce travel time between Sydney and Wollongong by 22 minutes, but that rail improvements were being sidetracked in favour of improving and extending the Motorway.[19]

Later in 2017, a state government leak showed the extent of the route, to be carried out in multiple sections which would largely follow the original planned route. The leaked document referred to the road as South Link. Sections included tunnels to the northern side of the Captain Cook Bridge, a bridge duplication allowing for motorway traffic to use the existing bridge and local traffic to keep access. To the south of the bridge, a surface motorway would run through current parks and reserves which had been left for the original route, then run along the route of the current Princes Highway with tunnels bypassing the towns of Heathcote and Waterfall before joining the existing freeway. [20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Princes Highway & A1 & M1 & Princes Motorway, New South Wales to 3-5 Princes Highway, Albion Park Rail NSW 2527". Google Maps. Google. 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  2. ^ F6 Southern Freeway, Ozroads: the Australian Roads Website. Retrieved 24 August 2008.[self-published source]
  3. ^ F6 Southern Freeway – Construction, Ozroads: the Australian Roads Website. Retrieved 24 August 2008.[self-published source]
  4. ^ "Information for Southern NSW & ACT". Alpha-numeric route numbers. Roads and Maritime Services. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  5. ^ Humphries, Glen (2 November 2015). "Extra lanes for motorway between Picton Road and Bulli Tops". Illawarra Mercury. Archived from the original on 3 November 2015.
  6. ^ "10 reasons for not building an F6 Motorway" (PDF). Sutherland Shire Environment Centre. 2005. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  7. ^ "F6 Corridor Public Transport Use Assessment" (PDF). Roads and Traffic Authority. September 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "F6 Southern Freeway : History and Development". Ozroads. Retrieved 30 August 2010.[self-published source]
  9. ^ "Western Distributor - Construction Information". Retrieved 11 May 2011.[self-published source]
  10. ^ Baker, Jordan (27 February 2007). "Shire will become car park unless F6 is built: NRMA". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  11. ^ Baker, Jordan (12 February 2007). "F6 extension – the great dividing road". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  12. ^ "$20 million worth of progress on F6". NRMA. 5 November 2007. Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Kevin Rudd claims victory in federal election". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 November 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  14. ^ Kelly, Craig; Morrison, Scott (2 August 2010). "Morrison/Kelly Announce $20 Million to Get F6 Extension Tunnel Shovel Ready". Liberal Party of Australia. Archived from the original on 26 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  15. ^ Saulwick, Jacob (3 September 2015). "Multimillion-dollar compensation brawl brews over WestConnex St Peters interchange". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  16. ^ WestConnex – Updated Strategic Business Case (PDF). Sydney Motorway Corporation. November 2015. ISBN 978-1-925421-39-2. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Fact sheet: F6 Corridor Geotechnical Analysis" (PDF). Roads & Maritime Services. Government of New South Wales. June 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  18. ^ Patterson, Ian (17 October 2016). "Sydney's missing F6 motor link to the south on road to reality". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  19. ^ Robertson, James; O'Sullivan, Matt (27 June 2017). "Minister's answer undercut by cabinet documents on Sydney-Wollongong rail tunnel". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  20. ^ Trembath, Murray (2017-09-28). "Update: The F6's biggest impact area". St George & Sutherland Shire Leader. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  21. ^ Sydney, Nine News (2017-09-27). "Cabinet documents leaked to #9News show hundreds of homes and parks could be swallowed up by a new Sydney motorway. #NSWPol @CoKeefe9". @9NewsSyd. Retrieved 2017-09-29.