The blue shielded routes!

RD sign on NSW State Route 44 (Gt Western Highway) near Blacktown, May 2004.

NAASRA first established a plan for blue-shielded state routes in 1960 and released guidelines on how to implement the system. The first state route system appeared in Tasmania in 1960 and in 1965 Melbourne followed. The Melbourne system was commonly referred to Metro Routes as, until 1986, they only existed within the Metropolitan area of Melbourne. Other states followed, and now every state has/had state routes. The Northern Territory even has some although its only a territory!

In 1996/97 Victoria started replacing its rural state routes with a new alpha-numeric system of route marking, beginning a trend that will eventually take over the whole nation. At the moment, many state routes still exist within most states and this table outlines the current status of the state route systems in each state.

Overview of System
The A.C.T, being so small, doesnt have a system of state routes. For interstate travel, the National Routes that pass through are sufficient and the Tourist Drives provide navigation aids for tourists. It is not likely that Canberra would ever get a State Route system, as the routes to be signed would be no more than a handful.
N.S.W has a system of state routes, with two digit routes covering Sydney and the rural areas, and three-digit routes covering the Newcastle and Wollongong metro areas. Odd-numered routes are generally circumferential while even-numbered routes are generally radial. Preparations have been underway since 2001 to convert to alpha-numeric route marking but this is yet to be implemented.
N.T has a new system of "state" routes although perhaps they should technically be called territory routes or NT routes as NT isnt actually a state. Planning is underway for the conversion to alpha-numeric route marking and many routes, which havent been signed properly as yet, will not be signed prior to changeover.
Queensland has a confusing system of state routes. Many numbers are doubled up due to size of the state, the sheer amount of marked routes and the fact QMR don't use three-digit numbers. Many routes are not very well signed on the ground and don't appear on some maps making navigation very difficult.
S.A now uses the alpha-numeric route marking system but previosuly had no state routes of its own. Two Victorian Routes, however, were sensibly signed across the border and terminated at the next major road in SA.
late 1980's
Tasmania originally had a system of blue-shielded routes, numbered from 1 to 9. These routes were not the same as the standard state route shield and nonetheless were replaced by alpha-numeric routes.
Victoria was the first state to introduce a system of state routes in 1965 but since these only covered Metropolitan Melbourne they were commonly known as Metro Routes. A large update of Victorian route marking was undertaken in 1987-90 and with this came the three-digit state routes for the rural areas. Nowadays, only the routes inside Melbourne exist due to the onset of alpha-numeric signage and they are again commonly known as Metro Routes.
Metro area - 1965
Rural area - 1987
Rural area -
Western Australia have a system of state routes, with two-digit routes covering the Perth metro area and three-digit routes covering the rest of the state. Further to that, the multiples of 10 (eg. SR10, SR20 etc.) are the major thoroughfares to/from Perth that aren't covered by the National Routes.

Last updated 3 April 2011
© Ozroads 2004-2011.