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New South Wales
|Length||32 km (20 mi)|
|North end||Princes Motorway,
|Lawrence Hargrave Drive
Mount Ousley Road
|South end|| Princes Highway,
|Major settlements||Bulli, Corrimal, Wollongong, Unanderra, Dapto|
The Princes Highway Wollongong is part of the Princes Highway, the main coastal route connecting Sydney and Melbourne Australia. It is both a secondary north-south route through Wollongong, and a major linking road within the Wollongong urban area.
The section of the Princes Highway between West Helensburgh and Bulli Tops forms part of the first coastal route between Sydney and Wollongong, first used in 1843. From Bulli Tops this route continued south along the alignment of today's Mount Ousley Road as far south as Mount Keira Road, and then followed Mount Keira Road around the west of Mount Keira to approach Wollongong from the west rather than the north. This route replaced the inland route from Sydney via Liverpool, Campbelltown and Appin to Bulli Tops.
The section of this route as far south as Darkes Forest Road was superseded by the construction of the New Illawarra Road between Lucas Heights and Darkes Forest. This bypassed the causeway across the Woronora River at The Needles and the associated steep approach grades, as it crossed the Woronora River near its headwaters, south of today's Woronora Dam.
The New Illawarra Road was in turn superseded as the main route from Sydney when in 1864 a ferry service was begun across Georges River at Tom Uglys Point. This resulted in the Old Illawarra Road south from Engadine resuming its role as part of the main route.
The route from Bulli Tops along the edge of escarpment to Mount Keira and then descending south of Mount Keira was replaced by the construction of Bulli Pass. This in turn replaced an earlier route down the escarpment, known as Rixons Pass.
In 1920, following a visit to Australia by the Prince of Wales (later King George V), the coastal route from Sydney to Melbourne was named Princes Highway. Today's Princes Hwy between Sydney and Wollongong via Tom Uglys Point, Engadine and Bulli Pass follows the route as proclaimed in 1920.
In 1942, as part of wartime defence measures, a road was built from Mount Keira Road where it turned inland, descending the escarpment to join the Princes Highway at Fairy Meadow. This route, along with the section of Mount Keira Road from Bulli Tops to this junction, is today's Mount Ousley Road. Despite the gradients where this route climbs the escarpment, it superseded the Bulli Tops-Fairy Meadow via Bulli Pass section of the Princes Highway as the main route to and from Sydney, as the grades were (and are) far less severe than those of Bulli Pass.
The Princes Highway through Wollongong city centre was superseded as the main north-south route by the construction of what was then known as the North-South Motorway from North Wollongong to West Wollongong in stages between 1959 and 1963, and in 1964 a connector road from Mount Ousley Road to the North-South Motorway at Gwynneville was opened to traffic. This effectively meant that from Bulli Tops to West Wollongong the Princes Hwy was superseded as the main north-south route.
The section of the Princes Highway as far south as Bulli Tops was also superseded as the main Sydney-Wollongong route when the parallel section of the Southern Freeway was opened in 1975.
South of West Wollongong to Yallah the Southern Freeway replaced the Princes Highway as the main arterial route as it was opened in sections between 1967 and 1989.
North of the city centre, the opening in stages of the Wollongong Northern Suburbs Distributor from North Wollongong to Woonona between 1990 and 2009 has meant that the parallel section of the Princes Highway has also been superseded as the arterial route. There remains one further section of the Wollongong Northern Suburbs Distributor to be built, from Molloy St Woonona to Lawrence Hargrave Drive at Wrexham Avenue Thirroul. This will supersede the Princes Highway as the main arterial route as far north as its intersection with Lawrence Hargrave Drive at the foot of Bulli Pass.
The net result of construction of alternative routes and parallel freeway is that in the Wollongong urban area, the only section of the Princes Highway that retains its function as the main arterial route is south of Yallah interchange. See Route Numbering section below for resulting route renumbering of different sections of the Highway.
As far south as Bulli Pass the Princes Highway is generally a single carriageway two-lane rural road passing through undeveloped land characterised by eucalyptus forest. From Bulli Pass south to Mount Brown Road Dapto it is built as an urban four-lane single carriageway road, other than a heavily-trafficked section from Mount Ousley Road to Bourke Street in North Wollongong which is built as a six-lane divided carriageway. The urban sections of the Highway pass through a mix of residential and some light industrial areas and the main commercial centre of each of the suburbs through which it passes. It also passes through Wollongong city centre.
South of Mount Brown Road it reverts to a single carriageway two-lane rural road as far as Yallah interchange, at the current southern terminus of the Southern Freeway. From here to the Illawarra Highway junction it is built as urban motorway with grade-separated junctions. From the Illawarra Highway to Durgadin Drive Oak Flats it is again built as an urban four-lane single carriageway road. South from here it is built as a rural motorway, however at this point it leaves the Wollongong urban area.
Route Numbering and Naming
According to the New South Wales Land and Property Information data, the Princes Highway enters Wollongong in Helensburgh as State Route 60, running roughly parallel to the Southern Freeway for its length. It rejoins the primary route (national route 1) at Bulli Tops then diverges from it shortly after to descend Bulli Pass to Bulli and Woonona South from Woonona it is un-numbered, as route 60 instead follows the parallel Wollongong Northern Suburbs Distributor as far south as North Wollongong, from which point the Princes Highway is again numbered as state route 60.
Numbered as state route 60, the Princes Highway then proceeds via Figtree and Unanderra to Yallah where it meets the Southern Freeway where state route 60 ends and the Princes Highway becomes National Route 1.
The gazetted route of the Princes Highway differs from the route of state route 60 (and from that shown on road signs). In relation to Wollongong it commences only at the southern end of the Southern Freeway at Bulli Tops, with the road further north parallel to the Freeway mentioned in the gazette as the Old Princes Highway (the Freeway is not gazetted as part of the Princes Highway). At Bellambi the gazetted route proceeds southward via Bellambi Lane and the Northern Distributor (Memorial Drive) to Flinders Street in North Wollongong, where it rejoins the singposted Princes Highway, and then through Wollongong city centre, following Flinders St, Keira Street and Crown Street (all gazetted as part of the Princes Highway) before rejoining the named Princes Highway through Figtree, Unanderra and Dapto to Oak Flats, and then continuing southward from Wollongong. The gazetted route is designated State Route 60 for its length, but deviates from the road that is signposted as the Princes Highway between Bellambi and North Wollongong (part of the Wollongong Northern Suburbs Distributor).
- Bulli Pass
- Crown Street, Wollongong
- Highways in Australia
- Highways in New South Wales
- Lawrence Hargrave Drive
- Former NSW State Route 60, Ozroads, Retrieved on 1 June 2013.
- National Routes, Ozroads, Retrieved on 1 June 2013.
- Spatial Information Exchange, New South Wales Land and Property Information, retrieved 8 September 2011
- Schedule of Classified Roads and State & Regional Roads, Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales, 31 January 2011, retrieved 8 September 2011
- Roads and Traffic Authority 189, 25 October 2022, p. 9185, retrieved 8 September 2011 Unknown parameter
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