Australian Motorways

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booshank
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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by booshank » Fri Aug 07, 2020 13:56

crazyknightsfan wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 01:13
Berk wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 22:38
Not just there, anywhere. Except in Tas, they seem a bit more used to unsealed roads (although there aren’t that many more than on the mainland).

Working out where to go in Australia, it was crucial to understand which routes used sealed roads, and which ones didn’t.

Given that you’re not covered for “off road” stuff (and that includes unsealed roads), I decided to give them a miss. Maybe another time.
Lots of rental companies will let you take their 4WD vehicles on unsealed roads, I do it all the time. But the Tanami Road, and a handful of others, are specifically listed as 'no go' roads even for 4WDs in most rental company Terms.
I hired a rental car in Cairns and they were very clear about no unsealed roads and the geographical limits it could be driven in. Basically listing the points on all significant roads west of which it was forbidden to drive. Presumably to avoid you driving too far into the outback and being too far away if you broke down and got into difficulty. It was a few hours drive west of the coast where settlements got very small and far between. I did drive to Undara which I found was a few kilometres outside the limit, but fortunately there was no tracking...

I don't think I encountered any motorways. The Townsville ring road was being upgraded and probably didn't count, and there's a short stretch of grade separated Bruce Highway approaching Cairns from the south but I don't think that counts either.

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Sat Oct 03, 2020 08:38

Another Australian city motorway map - Canberra.

AU Motorways ACT.png

'Motorway' and 'Canberra' in the same sentence is almost an oxymoron. The city is unlikely to increase its number of motorways beyond the current three-ish. It has a north-south motorway down each side and one E-W motorway across the middle. They need some minor works to reach full grade separation.

Other main roads are urban S2/D2/D3, with no property access but using flat intersections, either signalized or roundabouts. These roads form the boundaries of self-contained neighbourhoods about 3km across (think Milton Keynes). Many of these roads have sufficient space to be upgraded into motorways, but only a few might be, and that's far off. Travel by car is easy and pleasant - there's little congestion.

The city, capital of AU, occupies its own mini-state: Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It lies one third of the way from Sydney to Melbourne, 60km off the Hume Freeway, set around an artificial lake and surrounded by low mountains. It was founded about 100 years ago, built from scratch to a visionary 'garden city' design. The half-million population is 'green' and left-leaning, so, although currently sprawling, Canberra's determined to reform and become denser, multi-modal, active, etc. A light rail line recently opened: stages 2 to 5, partially wire-free, are planned. Above all, it's neat and tidy and rational - to such a degree that many Aussies consider it sterile and boring.

In road-geek terms, it has nothing remarkable: no mega-carriageways, no weird intersections, no innovative smart technology, etc. It just gently works.
Last edited by Peter Freeman on Wed Dec 23, 2020 02:35, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:38

Introducing a significant and interesting road project underway in Melbourne: The Westgate Tunnel.

Westgate Bridge was completed in 1978. It crosses the estuary of the Yarra River, carrying the M1 motorway into the city from the west. Its D5ALR lanes are now full. Various E-W relief schemes have been proposed over the years, and one almost started building (it was de-railed by an electoral stunt). Finally this one got over the line as it was an 'unsolicited proposal', funded mainly by toll-road company Transurban. Actually it will only slightly relieve the bridge, and will not solve Melbourne's E-W problem, but it will have various benefits of its own.

Its components are (a) widening the Westgate Freeway from D4M to Q3M/ALR, with express lanes to the bridge, (b) a new D3 tunnel, leading to a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River, (c) elevated roads providing connections to the docks and the city. Construction began in 2018, with completion expected in 2023 (delayed by a year after contaminated soil was detected on the tunnel route).

The project website is here: https://westgatetunnelproject.vic.gov.au/#
A design overview video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEgmyLY ... mb_rel_end

Interesting points in the video:
0:10 Provision for an additional interchange bridge, when the M80 is widened (soon).
0:30 Note the blue signs for toll roads, green for free roads (a Melbourne-only convention, I believe).
0:40 Motorway-to-motorway metering, with width-flaring at the signaling point (strangely, the artist forgot to draw the signals!).
3:57 Tunnel portals and vent stacks have a striking design.
4:27 Ramp metering on the on-ramp near the tunnel northern entrance.
4:33 Blue sign 'MX', because a number for the toll road has not yet been publicly allocated.
6:15 The video from this point covers the complicated city-end connections, and is rather confusing if you don't know those Melbourne roads - sorry!

Enjoy.
Last edited by Peter Freeman on Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:12, edited 1 time in total.

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jackal
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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by jackal » Sun Nov 01, 2020 15:34

Peter Freeman wrote:
Sat Oct 03, 2020 08:38
In road-geek terms, it has nothing remarkable: no mega-carriageways, no weird intersections, no innovative smart technology, etc.
This interchange is quite remarkable, with the parliament building as its centrepiece!

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@-35.3086 ... 003,16.27z

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Mon Nov 02, 2020 00:26

Well-spotted Jackal. That one is indeed remarkable. It often escapes my attention as an 'interchange', since (a) it is large/spread-out and (b) I tend to think of it as just part of the ceremonial roads or 'show-roads' of Canberra. Of course it is an interchange and it works nicely. It's free-flowing for the most important movements, ie. between Commonwealth Avenue and Adelaide Avenue. Those two roads effectively form a short but important freeway between Civic (the CBD) and Woden, a nearby large suburb.
Last edited by Peter Freeman on Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by ChrisH » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:47

The NorthConnex tunnel opened over the weekend, which fills in the missing link in Sydney's regional motorway network. It's now possible to drive from Melbourne to Newcastle on motorways, and in a couple of years when the Coffs Harbour bypass is built all the way up to north of Brisbane apart from the one junction at Newcastle/Hexham.

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by ChrisH » Thu Dec 31, 2020 09:39

The last section of the Pacific Motorway/Highway opened earlier this month, completing a four-lane highway between Sydney and Brisbane as part of a programme established in 1996. There's a good website with e-book commemorating the completion of the programme.

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jackal
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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by jackal » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:34

The ebook is interesting - the modern equivalent of a mid-twentieth century British celebratory publication. Our well-engineered roads are now treated as dirty secrets, to be hidden behind A road numbers and green signs.

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by sydneynick » Thu Dec 31, 2020 23:03

Actually, you can travel on four-lane highway some 2000 km from west of Ballarat in Victoria to just south of Gympie in Queensland, apart from that short stretch near Hexham. Almost all of this distance is motorway, the main exception being around 15 km through Coffs Harbour which is S4 with 60 or 50 km/h limit.

I think the reason that the Coffs Harbour by-pass has been left until last is that it is going to be very expensive. Most of the NSW coast has a narrow coastal plain and then a steep escarpment up to tablelands that slope gently to the west. At Coffs Harbour, the town occupies all the level land between the sea and the escarpment. The 14 km by-pass will have three fairly long tunnels. Some information at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-09/ ... d/12964130
I can always tell if politicians are lying. Their lips move.

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Fri Jan 01, 2021 01:07

jackal wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:34
The ebook is interesting - the modern equivalent of a mid-twentieth century British celebratory publication ...
I like this type of publication. I know that some Sabristi have collections of such memorabilia. I have a book (in hard copy) from ages ago when the duplication of M31 Hume Hwy (Melbourne-Sydney) was virtually completed. Here's a link to one from about 12 years ago on the M3 Eastlink Tollway in Melbourne (you can get back to the general Eastlink site from the link too).

https://www.eastlink.com.au/images/docu ... rpiece.pdf

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Sun Jan 03, 2021 01:40

sydneynick wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 23:03
... you can travel on four-lane highway some 2000 km from west of Ballarat in Victoria to just south of Gympie in Queensland, apart from that short stretch near Hexham. Almost all of this distance is motorway, the main exception being around 15 km through Coffs Harbour which is S4 with 60 or 50 km/h limit.
The current road through Coffs Harbour is D2AP (though you might describe about 300 metres of it as S4 with a wide cross-hatched median), with about 12 at-grade intersections and one overpassed-roundabout interchange. The recent Pacific Hwy celebrations concerned continuous dual-carriageway status, which was effectively achieved despite Coffs Harbour and Hexham.

Under-construction bypass web info here -
https://v2.communityanalytics.com.au/rms/coffs
https://www.pacifichighway.nsw.gov.au/c ... bourbypass

and simulation video here -
https://vimeo.com/358456396

The three tunnels are actually fairly short - up to a few hundred metres. Earlier, for safety and cost reasons, there were plans that they might simply be either cuttings or land-bridges, but fortunately environmental, landscape and amenity considerations won out. The tunnels are required because of small patches of high ground on the alignment. There are already similar short tunnels on the Pacific Motorway near Cudgen and St Helena, as well as a cut-&-cover under Coolangatta airport runway.

St Helena time-lapse construction video and a drive-through -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP5LJF5WiuQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHezUZNSaZE

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Wed Oct 13, 2021 09:28

I'm prompted to post this by discussions on the general pages about the acceptability of D5 carriageway width in the UK. I don't think I can get away with much more digression in that thread, so here.

Jackal provided an interesting list of M1 AADTs, referenced with their cross-sections. Especially interesting was mention of 100K AADT as an approximate trigger for converting D3HS to D4ALR. So I found an official source of traffic stats for Victoria (I don't know how I hadn't come across it before) to make my table below.

Whilst compiling it, I realised that it's not as useful as I'd hoped, because the figures are for calendar year 2020: pandemic year! Melbourne's multiple lockdowns, required because our government fortunately prioritised health and survival over economics, caused 2020 to be far from typical. This iconic photo shows what lockdown did to our traffic in April 2020. The M3 Eastern Freeway had never looked like this -

M3 empty covid.jpg

Here are the 2020 figures anyway. I'll aim to revise them after a normal-ish 2022.

road/location/lanes/format/2020 AADTx1000 [2022 prediction]

M1 W_of_M80 D4* HS 176 [200]
M1 Westgate_Bridge D5 ALR 175 [200]
M1 Tunnels D3 ALR toll 120 [140]
M1 inner_east D4 ALR toll 140 [160]
M1 W_of_M3 D4* HS 170 [195]
M1 E_of_M3 D5 HS 165 [190]
M1 E_of_M420 D3 HS 96 [110]
M1 E_of_Warragul D2 HS 30 [35]

M2 N_of_M1 D4 ALR toll 103 [120]
M2 N_of_Brunswick_rd. D5/6 ALR toll 162 [185]
M2 E_of_M79 D5/6 ALR+ 168 [190]
M2 near_airport D3 HS 98 [110]

M3 E_of_city D5 HS 123 [140]
M3 W_of_Middleborough_rd. D4 HS 146 [165]
M3 Tunnels D3 ALR toll 88 [100]
M3 N_of_M1 D3 HS toll 111 [125]
M3 S_of_M1 D3 HS toll 104 [120]

M80 N_of_M1 D3 HS 140 [160]
M80 Whitten_Bridge D5 ALR 128 [145]
M80 E_of_M2 D4 HS+ 156 [180]
M80 E_of_M31 D4 HS 122 [140]

M8 W_of_M80 D2 HS 70 [80]

M11 S_of_M3 D2 HS 62 [70]

M31 N_of_M80 D2 HS 90 [105]
M31 S_of_Seymour D2 HS 24 [25]

(+ indicates >2 carriageways)
(* indicates currently being widened)

edited to include my 2022 prediction, which is 1.15 x 2020's actual.

Melbourne spent over 200 days in lockdown during 2020, with traffic variation ranging from -60% (hardly anyone going anywhere, work from home, online school) to +5% (semi-normal, some avoidance of public transport).
Last edited by Peter Freeman on Fri Oct 22, 2021 03:11, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by jackal » Wed Oct 20, 2021 15:17

Thanks for this. It seems the relationship between AADT and road standard is not too different in Victoria from the UK, at least if you pump those up a bit to account for the quiet year.

These are all cases in Great Britain where three lane motorways were over 130,000 AADT in 2019:

Road Junctions Standard HGVs All motor vehicles
M60 2 1 D3M 8634 153636
M25 15 15 D3M* 11077 146054
M4 6 5 D3M* 9914 140070
M60 25 24 D3M 7433 136088
M60 1 27 D3 7452 135796
M6 24 25 D3M* 14265 134966
M4 4 3 D3M* 7268 134750
M27 11 12 D3M 6370 130554

The M4 and M6 sections are being upgraded, and the M25 section is scheduled for the same. That just leaves the southern quadrant of the M60, which is obviously tricky to ALR given the narrow/intermittent HS (esp. J27-J1), and the M27. The latter has an unusually low HGV count, another important factor to consider, though I feel they should have included it in the current M27 upgrade anyway.

In any case, I stand by the idea that a section of D3M with full HS is likely on the radar for ALR from about 100k AADT, and would add that it's an aberration if it's not at least scheduled for improvement at 130k AADT.

More AADT data here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=42359&p=1210562#p1210562

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Bryn666 » Thu Oct 21, 2021 10:55

jackal wrote:
Wed Oct 20, 2021 15:17
Thanks for this. It seems the relationship between AADT and road standard is not too different in Victoria from the UK, at least if you pump those up a bit to account for the quiet year.

These are all cases in Great Britain where three lane motorways were over 130,000 AADT in 2019:

Road Junctions Standard HGVs All motor vehicles
M60 2 1 D3M 8634 153636
M25 15 15 D3M* 11077 146054
M4 6 5 D3M* 9914 140070
M60 25 24 D3M 7433 136088
M60 1 27 D3 7452 135796
M6 24 25 D3M* 14265 134966
M4 4 3 D3M* 7268 134750
M27 11 12 D3M 6370 130554

The M4 and M6 sections are being upgraded, and the M25 section is scheduled for the same. That just leaves the southern quadrant of the M60, which is obviously tricky to ALR given the narrow/intermittent HS (esp. J27-J1), and the M27. The latter has an unusually low HGV count, another important factor to consider, though I feel they should have included it in the current M27 upgrade anyway.

In any case, I stand by the idea that a section of D3M with full HS is likely on the radar for ALR from about 100k AADT, and would add that it's an aberration if it's not at least scheduled for improvement at 130k AADT.

More AADT data here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=42359&p=1210562#p1210562
153k on the M60 between J2-1! The complexity here is dealing with J2, which is presently a lane gain (not because traffic warrants it but to try and manage the horrendous weaving between 2/3/4). That is not an easy fix for sure... at least the cross-section is ideal for ALR but that's it. From J1 round to J24 is a mish mash and probably impossible to ALR without screwing forward sightlines with the vertical levels issues between carriageways.

What should have been done was an M605 following the now A555 corridor and former A6(M). That will never happen though, if the A555 is extended it'll be an at-grade misery.
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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by jackal » Thu Oct 21, 2021 13:49

I've made a new thread here to discuss the M60 stuff:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=42987&p=1210686#p1210686

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Fri Oct 22, 2021 07:24

I've edited my original AADT table by adding a column with predictions for 2022. My estimates are based on 2020 covid figures being approx 15% down on otherwise expected, and they assume the covid effect will be absent next year. They ignore the possibility (ruminated on in AU, as in the UK) that (a) a shift to partial work-at-home, and (b) uptake of active travel, will become permanent. I'm confident that my estimates are conservative, as I saw frequent references to AADT's >200K over the last couple of years.

The official AU stats separately show flows for commercial/heavy vehicles, even though included in the totals, as do UK's. My table doesn't show them, but typically they make up 5%-10% of the totals, as in the UK.

The points are mainly selected as my own estimate of the highest-flow locations - I don't think I've missed any. They're nearly all within Melbourne's boundary. VicRoads does share its full databases, for much greater granularity (ie. Jn-J(n+1) on all freeways), but I can't be bothered with the extraction work.

I agree with your assertion of ~100K (perhaps a bit more) as a de-facto D4 trigger. Many of our roads, and yours, are pushing their luck! I think Melbourne (and other AU cities of course) gets away with higher densities for the following reasons -

1. Our busy motorways are mainly urban, while yours are inter-city or orbital routes. This doesn't mean ours belong in the Coventry Ring Road or Leeds' A64(M) small-scale category (both are favourite roads of mine), but it does mean that the heavy stretches often don't last too long. It's easy to tolerate slow traffic for just a few km when you know you'll soon be through it, but not so easy when it's several miles and you're halfway up a drive from Croydon to Manchester.

2. Possibly our laissez-faire lane usage helps (?).

3. Many of the listed roads are speed limited to 80km/hr, most others to 100km/hr. This low (for a motorway) speed increases the threshold density for flow breakdown. Of course you do use VSL to the same end.

4. Most of these roads have ramp metering, and some have M2M connector metering (I know general Sabre opinion is that it doesn't work ... !).

5. The UK seems resistant to embracing ramp braiding. We are increasingly using it to solve our congestion problems (my Victoria Motorways map on the first page of this thread shows where some significant instances are). It is more expensive, but much better, than simple CDing.

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Re: Australian Motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Mon Nov 22, 2021 06:32

Mordialloc Freeway in Melbourne opened yesterday. This is a 9km northerly extension of the existing Mornington Peninsula Freeway, which runs southwards from Melbourne city in Australia.

I previously posted about it in another thread : viewtopic.php?f=7&t=41867&p=1170833#p1170833.

Driving video on opening day - both ways, in one minute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYOz3NgC-bc.

Here is the announcement, with links to project page, etc. - https://roadprojects.vic.gov.au/news/mo ... eeway-open#.

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