Why change the existing road numbering system?
The current guide signposting system needs an overhaul because:
- There has been no significant review of route markers in NSW for 30 years
- Markers need to be consistent with the agreed national guide signposting practice across state borders
- A number of existing signs are confusing and have missing information, especially on Sydney’s motorways
- A combination of a letter and a number is easier for people to remember as a system to navigate NSW roads
- Some important routes include numerous road names. For example, from Sydney airport across the city to the north, road users travel along General Holmes Drive, Southern Cross Drive, Dowling Street, Eastern Distributor Motorway, Cahill Expressway, Sydney Harbour Tunnel, Bradfield Highway, the Warringah Freeway and so on without actually making a turn. Under the new system, the route will be marked simply as the M1
What is an alphanumeric road numbering system?
An alphanumeric road numbering system is a guidance system that uses a combination of a letter and a number to identify a route. The letters link the road guidance system to national and state routes within NSW and include:
- ‘M’ – meaning motorway standard road of national significance. Motorways are generally major roadways with a divided carriageway of two or more traffic lanes in each direction, where opposing traffic is separated by a median strip with controlled entries and exits. An example is the M5
- ‘A’ – routes of national significance (for example A39 Newell Highway from Victoria, through NSW to Queensland), or important arterial roads in major urban areas
- ‘B’ – routes of state significance, for example B78 Waterfall Way from Coffs Harbour to Armidale
- The number identifies the route and helps drivers to navigate around the road system, particularly when they are travelling in unfamiliar areas
Which routes will be allocated alphanumeric road numbers?
The majority of state roads previously route marked with National Highway, National, State and Metroad route markers will now be assigned an alphanumeric road number. A small number of previously marked State routes will not feature an alphanumeric classification under the new system.
Additionally, a number of important routes not previously route marked at all will now have a route number; e.g., the route connecting the Sydney to Newcastle Freeway and Newcastle City.
What are the new motorway names?
Along with the alphanumeric road numbers, RMS is also introducing new names on some important routes. These changes align with the motorway standard for the route and use of the ‘M’ alphanumeric marker.
The new road names are:
- M1 Pacific Motorway - the Sydney to Newcastle Freeway between Hornsby and Beresfield (currently known as the ‘F3’) and the Pacific Highway between the Queensland border and north of Byron Bay
- M1 Princes Motorway - the Southern Freeway and Mount Ousley Road between Waterfall and Albion Park Rail (currently known as the ‘F6’)
- M4 Western Motorway - the M4 between Concord and Lapstone
- M31 Hume Motorway - the Hume Highway from the M5 at Prestons to Berrima. The route south of Berrima will be named the Hume Highway but retain the M31 route marker along its entire length
- Federal Highway - the Federal Highway will retain its name but gain the M23 route marker
When the changes are introduced, where applicable the signage which currently indicates the freeway start and finish points will also be changed to reflect the new motorway names.
What is the transition time from the existing to the new system?
The introduction of the new alphanumeric road numbering system is due to start in early 2013 and is expected to be completed before the end of 2013