Former State Route 53
State Route 53 shield on a butterfly gantry sign, northbound off-ramp from James Ruse Dr to Pennant Hills Rd. Source: Main Roads, Vol. 45 (DMR, 1981)
Lifespan: 1977-1988 (11 years)
Length (1988): 9km
Northern Terminus (1988): Cumberland Hwy & Old Windsor Rd, Old Toongabbie
Southern Terminus: Parramatta Rd & James Ruse Dr, Granville
Route taken: James Ruse Drive, Cumberland Hwy (Briens Rd)
Focal Points: Granville, Hornsby/Windsor, Seven Hills
RTA Internal Classification (current): Main Road No. 309 (James Ruse Dr), State Highway No. 13 (Cumberland Hwy)
Replaced by: State Route 55 (Parramatta Rd to Pennant Hills Rd) State Route 77 (Pennant Hills Rd to Hart Drive)
State Route 53 was the route marker for the Parramatta Bypass, now known mostly as James Ruse Drive and Cumberland Highway, and was first introduced in 1977 with the opening of the section of James Ruse Drive between Kissing Point Road and Pennant Hills Road.
Upon introduction, the route extended from the junction of Parramatta Rd (then National Route 32), via Berry Street, Aston Ave, Rydalmere Ave and James Ruse Drive to Pennant Hills Road (then State Route 55).
Its main purpose was as a bypass of Parramatta for State Route 55 traffic - at that stage State Route 55 passed through the congested centre of Parramatta along Church Street.
Two north-westerly extensions of the route were effected shortly after the routes introduction, with the continued extension of the Parramatta Bypass works. The first change came in 1979 with the extension of James Ruse Drive from Pennant Hills Rd to Windsor Rd. The second change came in 1981 with the construction of the Parramatta Bypass as far as Wentworthville - State Route 53 was temporarily terminated at the intersection of Old Windsor Rd & Hart Drive (now Cumberland Highway).
The Department of Main Roads’ Schedule of Descriptions of State Routes from 1st July 1982 provides the following description of State Route 53:
“From the junction of State Highway No. 5 [Great Western Hwy/Parramatta Rd] and Main Road No. 309 [James Ruse Dr] at Clyde, via Main Road No. 309, James Ruse Dr, Briens Rd and link road to the junction with Old Windsor Rd near Toongabbie Ck, and with possible future extensions."
Details of the ‘possible future extensions’ referred to in this description were never released to the public and attempts to recover this information from the Roads and Traffic Authority have been thus far unsuccessful. However I can speculate on the two most likely extensions of State Route 53. One option would have been to extended State Route 53 along the Parramatta Bypass route (now part of Cumberland Highway) as far as the junction with the Western (M4) Motorway at South Wentworthville, thus making State Route 53 a ring road around the eastern, northern and western sides of Parramatta CBD. The option would have been to extend State Route 53 along Old Windsor Road, as upgrading and sealing the route permitted, to meet State Route 40 (Windsor Road) at Kellyville Ridge.
Neither extension eventuated, and the temporary terminus at Hart Drive turned out to be State Route 53’s final configuration. A victim of a shake-up of State Routes around Parramatta following completion of the Parramatta Bypass and construction of the new Cumberland Highway route to Smithfield and Liverpool, State Route 53 was decommissioned in August 1988. North-west of Pennant Hills Road State Route 77 was the replacement, whilst south of Pennant Hills Road State Route 55 was relocated from Church Street onto James Ruse Drive, replacing State Route 53 and providing a suitable connection for through traffic from Woodville to Pennant Hills Roads.
No signage remnants exist today, most signs having been replaced during the first half of the 1990s, but the following photos provide some evidence that State Route 53 did indeed exist.
Notable events in the history of SR53:
Jun 1977 - State Route 53 introduced upon opening of Stage 1 of Parramatta Bypass
Sep 1979 - State Route 53 extended from Pennant Hills Rd to Windsor Rd with opening of Stage 2 of Parramatta Bypass
Dec 1981 - State Route 53 extended from Windsor Rd to Hart Drive (Cumberland Hwy) with opening of Stage 4 of Parramatta Bypass
Aug 1988 - State Route 53 decommissioned; replaced by State Route 55 (south of Pennant Hills Rd) and State Route 77 (north-west of Pennant Hills Rd)
Photos of former State Route 53
State Route 53 shield on a westbound AD sign on the Western Motorway (then Freeway) approaching James Ruse Drive at Granville. Note the unusual configuration of routes - National Route 32 is shown as exiting onto the temporary ramp at Martha Street, pending construction of the Granville Viaduct section of the Freeway. Photo taken in September 1984.
Black painted distance sign, northbound on James Ruse Drive near Prospect Street, Rosehill. The State Route 55 shield is on a coverplate, covering a State Route 53 shield, following its decommissioning. August 1994.
State Route 53 shield on a butterfly exit sign, northbound off-ramp from James Ruse Dr to Pennant Hills Rd, North Parramatta.
Source: Scanned from Main Roads, Vol. 45 (DMR, 1981)
State Route 53 shield on a butterfly exit sign, southbound off-ramp from James Ruse Dr to Pennant Hills Rd, North Parramatta.
Source: Scanned from Main Roads, Vol. 45 (DMR, 1981)
AD sign southbound on Old Windsor Rd approaching Hart Drive (now Cumberland Highway) showing State Route 53 shield. Note that this was the temporary terminus of State Route 53 which became its final configuration prior to decommissioning.
Source: Scanned from Main Roads, Vol. 46 No. 4 (DMR, 1981)