A view of the Circular Quay viaduct on the Cahill Expressway from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Length: 2.5km

South-eastern Terminus: Eastern Distributor & Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo

North-western Terminus: Bradfield Hwy (at the toll plaza), Millers Point

Route Markers: Metroad 1 (south of the Harbour Tunnel)

Former Route Markers: National Route 1 (south of Harbour Tunnel from August 1992 to October 1993)

RTA Internal Classification: Main Road No. 592

Opened to Traffic: In two stages:-
Circular Quay section: 24 March 1958
Conservatorium Rd to Woolloomooloo: 1 March 1962

The Cahill Expressway, whilst being one named entity, is divided into two sections which perform two very different roles. The southernmost section, passing under the Royal Botanic Gardens and between it and the Domain, is a six lane expressway that forms part of the Metroad 1 route, the Sydney Orbital motorway network and a major through trunk route. In comparison, the viaduct across Circular Quay is a four-lane undivided expressway carrying about a third of the volume of traffic as the Domain section. Since the opening of the Harbour Tunnel, the Circular Quay section has lost its importance as a through route - now providing access to/from the Eastern Suburbs and North Sydney. It is also a prime spot for viewing New Years Eve and Australia Day fireworks extravaganzas!

The Cahill Expressway will be forever etched in Sydney's history, for many years it was all the Government could show for all the County of Cumberland expressway plans and was the brainchild of Dr. John Bradfield, who designed the Harbour Bridge and planned much of Sydney's electric railway system in the early 20th century. Follow the links below to read all about the history, views photos and an interactive map of the Cahill Expressway.

The City of Sydney website has an interesting feature showing some construction photos of the Cahill Expressway and very brief outline of its history. This can be viewed from the following link:

History and Development of the Cahill Expressway
Interactive Map of Cahill Expressway & Bradfield Hwy
Interactive Map of Cahill Expressway & Eastern Distributor

Photos of the Cahill Expressway (additional photos can be viewed from interactive map)
Aerial view of Cahill Expressway construction in 1957, looking east from the Bradfield Highway. (Denis Winston - Sydney's Great Experiment)
The cutting in Observatory Hill where the Cahill Expressway traffic loops onto the Bradfield Hwy northbound. June 2005.
Looking west into the short tunnel beneath Observatory Hill, just before the 270 degree loop to join the Bradfield Hwy northbound. 2004.
Looking east across the Circular Quay viaduct.
Source: Stuart Watts, 2008.
Looking west across the Circular Quay viaduct. June 2005.
Looking north over the Harbour Tunnel portal from Conservatorium Rd. April 2004.
1961 aerial view of the Cahill Expressway, showing the construction of the Domain Tunnel as a trench. (DMR)
Looking southeast from Shakespeare Place, prior to the commencement of works on the Cross City Tunnel. June 2003.
Looking east from Art Gallery Rd prior to the commencement of Cross City Tunnel construction. June 2003.
Same view, this time during construction of the Cross City Tunnel. April 2004.

Last updated 30 May 2009
© Ozroads 2004-2009.