Monaro Highway/Majura Rd

Alt-23 trailblazer northbound on Majura Rd. The arrow is actually incorrect as Alt-23 goes straight here. Photo taken October 2004.

Length: 16km

Northern Terminus: Federal Highway/Majura Rd/Horse Park Dr interchange, Majura Interchange

Southern Terminus: Canberra Ave/Monaro Hwy/Ipswich St interchange, Fyshwick

Route Names: Majura Rd, Fairburn Ave, Morshead Dr, Monaro Hwy

Focal Points: Goulburn, Fyshwick, Tuggeranong/Cooma

Route Overview:

Alternate National Route 23 is, not suprisingly, an alternate route that bypasses NR23 through Canberra. It is a heavily trafficked route providing a shortcut between the Federal and Monaro Highways, however its signposting is quite awful. A great deal of signage on the route dates back to the early 1990's when it was first signposted but most of the newer signage does not have Alt-23 shields, leading me to think it will be (or has been) decomissioned or that the ACT Government are retarded. Decomissioning of the route would be on par with most other alternate routes across the country that are continuingly being re-badged as state routes. Perhaps the integrity of the route is questioned by the competition with the NSW government who, for obvious reasons, would prefer an entirely NSW bypass of Canberra via Sutton Rd and Lanyon Dr. Nevertheless, the ACT government continues to upgrade the road and I hope they do a much better job of signposting on any new sections.

Prior to 1988, when construction of the Monaro Hwy extension began, Majura Rd was just a narrow country road which skirted the eastern edge of ACT. The construction of this route essentially began in 1984 with the opening of the Silvia Curley Bridge which carries Alt-23 across the Molonglo River. Since then, the route has been progressively upgraded, firstly with the Monaro Hwy extension from Hume to Canberra Ave in 1989. In 1991, the Monaro hwy was extended north across Canberra Ave to Newcastle St, where northbound traffic used Dairy Rd, upgraded and made one-way northbound, while southbound traffic used a new freeway carriageway between the Molonglo River and Newcastle St across the floodplain. Also part of this stage of construction was a new bridge over the Molonglo River connecting Morshead Dr to Dairy Rd.

During the 1990's Majura Rd was upgraded, widened and resurfaced to a 90km/h design standard and the intersection with Federal Hwy was given minor safety improvements. That same intersection was later reconstructed as a grade-separated trumpet interchange which was completed in December 2002. In 2003, the interim route across the Molonglo River floodplain, Dairy Rd, was replaced with a new northbound carriageway of the Monaro Hwy and overpasses were constructed across Newcastle St, giving Alt-23 about 2km of full freeway standard road. In February 2004, the Majura Interchange was partially reconstructed to provide for the new Horse Park Drive, constructed to provide access to the Gungahlin town centre development.

As stated before, Alt-23 is curiously poorly signposted, considering its importance as a bypass of Canberra. Planning is underway by the ACT government to duplicate Majura Rd which will not only make the route safer but allow an increase in traffic. There are no public plans for upgrading of Alt-23 in the vicinity of Fairburn Ave and Morshead Dr, however there is ample room on the east side of the Molonglo River bridge for duplication.

Further Reading (on-site):

Alt-23 Northern Terminus: Federal Hwy/Majura Rd/Horse Park Dr, Majura Interchange
Alt-23 Southern Terminus: Monaro Hwy/Canberra Ave/Ipswich St, Fyshwick

Photos of Alternate National Route 23
Looking south from the Federal Highway interchange along Majura Rd. Planning is underway to dupliacte this section. Photo taken July 2004.
Looking south approaching the end of Majura Rd with Canberra Airport in the background. Alt-23 turns right ahead onto Fairburn Ave. Photo taken July 2004.
Southbound AD for the Fairburn Ave/Majura Rd intersection. Photo taken July 2004.
Northbound RD sign from Fairburn Ave. Note the use of Federal Hwy as a focal point. Photo taken July 2004.
Majura Rd approaching Fairburn Ave. This sign marks the end of the signposted truck bypass. Photo taken July 2004.
Majura Rd/Fairburn Ave intersection. Photo taken July 2004.
Fairburn Ave approaching Majura Rd. Photo taken July 2004.
Fairburn Ave approaching Morshead Dr. Photo taken July 2004.
Fairburn Ave approaching Morshead Dr, this time from the west. Note the absence of Alt-23 shields on either panel. This is common for new signs on this route. Photo taken July 2004.
Fairburn Ave at Morshead Dr. Photo taken July 2004.
Fairburn Ave at Morshead Dr. Photo taken July 2004.
New AD sign southbound on Morshead Dr approaching the start of the Monaro Highway. Note the absence of an Alt-23 shield, common to new signs. Photo taken July 2004.
Northbound roundabout ID sign, mid 1990's style at Morshead Dr/Monaro Hwy/Pialligo Ave roundabout. Photo taken July 2004.
Southbound ID sign at the same intersection. Photo taken July 2004.
Northbound approach to the same intersection on the Monaro Hwy. Photo taken July 2004.
Looking south across the 3-lane bridge that carries the Monaro Hwy across the Molonglo River. There is ample room on the east side for duplication in the future. Photo taken July 2004.
Looking north across the Molonglo River floodplain on the newly constructed northbound carriageway which opened to traffic in 2003. Previously, northbound traffic had used Dairy Rd which was upgraded in 1991. Photo taken October 2004.
Northbound AD sign for the bridge across the Molonglo River that services traffic to Morshead Dr and the CBD. Note the absence of any Alt-23 shields. Photo taken October 2004.
Southbound AD sign for Newcastle Street interchange. Prior to 2003, southbound traffic used the offramps to cross Newcastle St at an at-grade intersection until the overpass was constructed as part of the Dairy Flat duplication. Photo taken Feb 2006.
Early 1990's style ID sign at the Newcastle St interchange. Photo taken July 2004.
Looking south across the Canberra-Goulburn railway at Fyshwick. Alt-23 narrows to single carriageway to cross the railway and Canberra Ave, before terminating. Photo taken July 2004.
Southbound between the railway and Canberra Ave. Photo taken July 2004.
Northbound between Canberra Ave and the railway bridge. Photo taken July 2004.
Alt-23 trailblazer at the Newcastle St/Ipswich St intersection in Fyshwick. Photo taken July 2004.
Northbound Ipswich St approaching Newcastle St. Note the arrow that is all that remains from an Alt-23 trailblazer. Photo taken July 2004.

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