A sample of new State Route signage on Kwinana Freeway at the Narrows Interchange. Source: Vi Ong, Feb 2006.

In this section:

Overview of Western Australia State Route system

Western Australia has a system of blue-shielded state routes to guide motorists around the major roads of the state. The State Route system is intended to complement the National Route system (including National Highways), which comprises the major highways in the state, i.e. those serving a national function. The majority of State Routes are located in the Perth metropolitan area and only two routes are located to the north of Mount Magnet, giving an indication of just how much Western Australia’s settlement is concentrated into the south-west of the State.

Main Roads WA has described the State Route system thus: ‘the white on blue shields indicate the main urban and inter-regional routes. They are the signs which will most commonly be seen in urban areas.’ Yes, I know, not overly insightful.

The State Route system essentially operates as a four-tier system. Luke Wright, on his former Roadside.AU website defined each tier of the system and I shall borrow something from those definitions because they are probably the best way of describing them:

Major Perth Arterials: State Routes 2-8

These are the major arterial routes in Perth, almost all of which are along highway routes controlled by MRWA - the lone exception if State Route 5 through Perth CBD. There doesn’t appear to be a discernible pattern to their location.

Regional Arterials: State Routes 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 & 60

These routes are the major radial routes from the Perth area to neighbouring country centres. They begin with SR10 (which departs south-west from Bunbury), thence are located in an anti-clockwise direction, finishing with SR60 (which heads north from Perth to Lancelin). Some of these routes, notably SR30 and SR40, extend for hundreds of kilometres, and all of them leave the Perth metropolitan area. Basically, if you don’t leave Perth on a National Route, you will leave it on one of these.

Metropolitan State Routes: 2-digit routes other than those previously mentioned

These routes are your ordinary metropolitan state routes, forming a network of through routes across a combination of state-controlled roads and local roads. They appear to begin in the south-west and increase as you head north, somewhat in an anti-clockwise direction. It is possible they are based on a zonal system though, as the routes with the same first digit appear to be located near each other.

Rural State Routes: 3-digit routes

These routes are your ordinary rural state routes, connecting towns with each other and the major highways. Most of them are fully sealed, the two exceptions being 136 and 138 in the Pilbara region. Numbers begin in the south and increase the further you go north. At this stage there are no routes north of the Pilbara, but surely Gibb River Road would be worthy of inclusion in the State Route system in the future.


The Western Australian State Route system was introduced in 1986, with the first signs appearing in April of that year. Most of the routes were introduced progressively over the next few years, and I believe that the system was fully signed by 1995.

The system was probably introduced at that time due to the rapid development of the Perth metropolitan area from about the late 1970s onwards and the plan for the State Route system incorporated the future construction of a number of roads. As the plan was being rolled out in the late 1980s, substantial lengths of the Kwinana Freeway, Roe Highway, Reid Highway and Tonkin Highway were being constructed.

Since the system was introduced there has been only one major change - the introduction of State Route 8 with the opening of Graham Farmer Freeway in 2000. Other than that there have only been minor changes, such as the extension of routes into rapidly-developing areas north of Perth or the relocation/extension of roads within the metropolitan area. These will be discussed under each individual route.


List of active Western Australian State Routes
Indexed by type, thence in numerical order

Major Perth Arterials

Mitchell Freeway, Kwinana Freeway & Forrest Highway
Reid Highway & Roe Highway
Tonkin Highway
Causeway, Riverside Drive, Mounts Bay Road & Stirling Highway
Canning Highway
Leach Highway
Graham Farmer Freeway, Orrong Road & Welshpool Road East

Major Regional Arterials

South-west Loop
from Bunbury to Shannon via Busselton, Augusta, Nannup & Northcliffe

Armadale to Bunbury
via South Western Highway

Albany Highway
Albany Highway, Kenwick
(section of SR30 bypassed by Kenwick Link)
via Brookton Highway
Midland to Toodyay
via Toodyay Road

Perth to Dongara
via Wanneroo Road and Indian Ocean Drive

Metropolitan State Routes

Fremantle to Kwinana
via Cockburn Road
Fremantle to Armadale
via South Street
Fremantle to Armadale
via Armadale Road, Beeliar Drive, Spearwood Avenue
Rockingham loop
Mandjoogoordap Drive
(Mandurah Entrance Road)
Thomas Road
Rockingham to Albany Highway
via Mundijong & Jarrahdale Roads
Manning Road
High Road
Nicholson Road
Spencer Road & Fremantle Road
Perth to Midland
via Guildford Rd
West Swan Road
Beaufort Street, Broun Avenue & Beechboro Road North
Dianella to Hazelmere
via Garratt Road Bridge & Abernethy Road
Perth to Gnangara
via Alexander Drive
Nedlands to Joondanna
via Thomas Street
Innaloo to Nedlands
via Floreat
Cottesloe to Yanchep
via West Coast Highway & Marmion Avenue
City Beach to Perth
via Grantham Street
Scarborough to Mount Lawley
via Scarborough Beach Road & Walcott Street
Morley Drive & Karrinyup Road
Erindale Road
Warwick Road & Marangaroo Drive
Hepburn Avenue
Whitfords Avenue & Gnangara Road
Ocean Reef Road
Joondalup to Bullsbrook
via Joondalup Drive, Neaves Road & Rutland Road

Rural State Routes

Muirs Highway
Vasse Highway
Bunbury to Lake King
via Collie & Wagin
Northam to Pithara
via Goomalling & Wongan Hills
Bindoon to Dongara
via The Midlands Road
Toodyay to Cranbrook
via Northam & Narrogin
Nanaturra Roadhouse to Munjina
via Wittenoom
Newman to Port Hedland
via Marble Bar
Karratha to Tom Price

Last updated 23 December 2012
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