Western Distributor (Sydney)

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Western Distributor

Driving on the Western Distributor.jpg
Eastbound traffic on the Western Distributor traveling into the Sydney CBD
General information
Length3.8 km (2.4 mi)[1]
Route number(s) A4 (2013-present)
route number
  • Metroad 4 (2000-2013)
  • State Route 40 (1981-2013)
  • Entire route
  • Metroad 2 (1993-2007)
  • National Route 1 (1986-1992)
  • (CBD-Ultimo)
Major junctions
East endBradfield Highway
Sydney CBD
West end City West Link
Rozelle, Sydney
Major suburbs / townsSydney, Pyrmont, Rozelle
Highway system

The Western Distributor is a 3.8-kilometre-long (2.4 mi)[1] grade-separated motorway that is primarily elevated for the majority of its route on the western fringe of the Sydney central business district in New South Wales, Australia. From its northern terminus, it links the southern end of the Bradfield Highway at the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Victoria Road in Rozelle, at its western terminus near White Bay. The freeway is designated as part of the A4 for its entire distance.


Construction of the Western Distributor during the 1980s over the site of the Darling Harbour Yard.
Western Distributor in 2006 (overpass on extreme top-right and middle-left of the picture).

The Western Distributor came to be out of the realisation in the early 1960s that the existing roads that supported the Harbour Bridge would not cope with contemporary and projected traffic volumes. Due to existing infrastructure and buildings in the area, it was decided to build a viaduct to carry traffic above the city streets.[2] The Western Distributor was opened in stages starting in September 1972, with the last stage being the Anzac Bridge which was opened in December 1995.[2] The distributor also replaces the former congested route out of the city via the Pyrmont Bridge (closed in 1988) and the Glebe Island Bridge (closed in 1995 with the opening of Anzac Bridge).

The north-eastbound viaduct ramps leading towards Bradfield Highway, designed in 1967, was widened from 19 to 30 metres (62 to 98 ft) to accommodate a deck with a variable width from 2.3 to 5.5 metres (7 ft 7 in to 18 ft 1 in) and consists of a steel structure supported on reinforced concrete corbels.[3]

Abandoned section[edit]

Under the Western Distributor viaduct ramps at its northern end, between Sussex and Kent streets, there is an abandoned carriageway underneath the main roadway. It is a short section of elevated freeway; the top tier remains in constant use but the lower is suspended in the air; having been severed at each end.[4]


It is an unusual motorway as, citybound, it heads east, southeast after the Anzac Bridge, east, north then northeast. The freeway distributes traffic arriving from the north (a function which gives the road its name) while collecting traffic from the CBD, distributing it through Pyrmont and Ultimo before crossing over the Anzac Bridge. In the citybound direction, traffic is collected from Victoria Road and the City West Link, as well as various on ramps in the Pyrmont and Ultimo areas. Traffic is distributed into the CBD through various off ramps in Pyrmont and the western edge of the CBD, as well as into the Cross City Tunnel. The remaining traffic is fed into the Bradfield Highway, as it is not possible for northbound traffic to exit onto the Cahill Expressway (traffic travelling east on the Western Distributor wishing to reach the eastern edge of the CBD and beyond must either travel through the Cross City Tunnel or negotiate the packed streets of the CBD).

Exits and interchanges[edit]

Toll plaza00.0Toll on southbound traffic from Bradfield Highway only. No toll on northbound traffic
SydneyDawes Point00.0Bradfield Highway – North SydneyNorthern terminus of Western Distributor and route A4
Continues north as Bradfield Highway
Sydney1.20.75Harbour Street – Sydney South, HaymarketSouthbound exit via southern underpass;
Northbound entrance via northern underpass;
Eastbound exit via underpass;
Westbound entrance from Druitt Street only
1.60.99Cross City Tunnel – East Sydney, Rushcutters Bay, to Eastern Distributor (M1 south)Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only;
CCT electronic toll applies on westbound carriageway only
21.2King Street – Sydney CBD, Circular Quay, The RocksNorth-eastbound exit only
Pyrmont2.41.5Allen Street – Ultimo, BroadwayWestbound exit only
2.61.6Pyrmont Bridge Road (east) – Pyrmont
Bridge Road (west) – Sydney Fish Market, Glebe
No access eastbound
Johnstons Bay3.42.1Anzac Bridge
Inner WestRozelle3.82.4 Victoria Road (A40) – Balmain, Ryde, ParramattaWestern terminus, continues west as City West Link (A4)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Planned links[edit]

When it was built, it was described as the southern end of the F3 Freeway, as that was where the North West Freeway was intended to finish, however due to protests from inner city residents, this plan never came to fruition. The Western Distributor ends west of the Anzac Bridge western ramp and east of the junction between Victoria Road and City West Link,[1] with traffic fed onto either of these roads.

Construction of the Rozelle Interchange as part of Stage 3 of WestConnex is underway. With its scheduled completion in 2023, it will provide traffic-light free access from Sydney's CBD to its outer western suburbs and the Blue Mountains.

In popular culture[edit]

The road is referenced in the song "Hay Plain" by Australian artist Julia Jacklin.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Sydney Harbour Bridge to Victoria Road, Rozelle NSW 2039 (Map). Google Maps. 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Western Distributor - Construction Information", Ozroads: The Australian Roads Website Accessed 25 October 2006[self-published source]
  3. ^ Assi, Sarah. "Widening of Western Distributor Viaduct in Sydney NSW" (PDF). Convention Management New Zealand. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  4. ^ "The Freeway to Nowhere". VisitSydneyAustralia.com.au. Phoenix Group Co. 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  5. ^ Julia Jacklin (7 October 2016). "Hay Plain". genius.com. Genius Media Group Inc. Retrieved 30 July 2018. And besides that truck driver on the Western Distributor Who caught me changing, etc

External links[edit]