A sample of Metroad 'trailblazer' signage which was used extensively to mark the network.

In this section:


The Metroad system is the most significant navigation development in the history of Sydney's road network. These routes, characterised by their blue and white hexagonal shields, form the basis of navigation into and around Sydney. A total of 9 routes currently exist, numbered from 1 to 10, covering the major radial and circumferential arteries.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about New South Wales’ Metroad route marking system. Information and photos of individual routes can be found by following links in the list below.


The system was developed during the early 1990s and the initial stage was implemented during the 1992/93 financial year. Metroad 4 the first route to be fully signed during November/December 1992, with the remainder of the routes following in 1993. The initial stage consisted of 6 routes, viz: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7; of which four were radial and two circumferential.

Upon introduction of the Metroad system, the Roads and Traffic Authority issued brochures informing road users of the new system and how to use it. From an RTA brochure, Just Follow the Numbers, in 1992:

"Basically, the new system involves designating four radial routes and two ring routes as Metroads. These major routes embrace all of Sydney, generally from the Hawkesbury River in the north, the Nepean River in the west and Port Hacking in the south. To emphasise the broad purpose of the scheme, Metroad destination signs will have, wherever possible, a regional focus. Consequently, if you're heading to Sydney or to any one of the six major destinations shown (namely, the North Coast, Northern Beaches, Windsor, Blue Mtns, Canberra or South Coast), all you really need to do is follow the appropriate Metroad number.

Over the next few weeks and starting with Metroad 4, more than 2,500 signs will begin appearing. The complete network is expected to be fully signposted and operating within 12 months."

From RTA News, February 1993:


Our October 1992 report noted that, at the official launch of the Sydney Metroad System in September, it was announced Metroad 4 would be 'first cab off the rank'. Sydney Region's Traffic Section at Blacktown reports that this route has now been fully signposted between Broadway and Emu Plains.

Metroad 5 followed and is now consistently numbered from Cross Roads, south of Liverpool, to the Western Distributor over Darling Harbour
[incorrect statement, as Harris St was only ever signed as 'To Metroad 5', with Metroad 5's offical terminus at Broadway]. This is largely a new major route which takes over the previous role of the Hume Highway and incorporates recently upgraded arterial roads and the M5 Motorway.

The preparation of signs and route-marker symbols for Metroad 7 (Cumberland Highway) and Metroad 3 (formerly route 33) is well underway and these signs will be installed soon. Metroads 1 and 2 will follow, with these routes to be signposted later in 1993."

Metroad shields along most routes were first installed as coverplates then replaced with new signs when required, as a lot of the signage was still non-reflective and in the process of being replaced.

Following the success of the initial 6 routes, a second stage consisting of 3 routes was implemented. Metroad 9 and Metroad 10 were signposted in 1998, whilst Metroad 6 was signposted in 1999. In the case of Metroad 6, its promotion from State Route status to Metroad status was delayed until 3 major upgrades/deviations could be completed at Ermington, Bankstown and Padstow.

What about Metroad 8?

Metroad 8 is quite conspicuous in its absence from the system of signed routes. Many people have wondered why this number was never used and what it might have been allocated for. One popular theory which has done the rounds is that Metroad 8 was reserved for use on the Western Sydney Orbital (now Westlink, and signed as route M7). This sounds somewhat logical, as it would have been located between Metroads 7 and 9 both numerically and geographically. However, this theory has never been confirmed.

How it works - Remote Focal Points

Tthe Metroad system wasn't just a new route marking system, it was a complete new style of signposting. Greater emphasis was placed on route marker shields being prominently displayed, making following the numbers easier. Each route was given remote focal points, being a regional destination reached at either end of the route creating a situation where if you were heading to one of the regional destinations you would only need to follow one number. Those remote focal points were:

North Coast, Sydney, South Coast

Sydney, Windsor
Northern Beaches, Hurstville, South Coast
Sydney, Blue Mountains
Sydney, Canberra
North Coast, South Coast

In recent years the Roads and Traffic Authority has decided to change some of the remote focal points as motorists expressed confusion over which places in particular North Coast, South Coast and Northern Beaches were referring to. Signs displaying North Coast and South Coast have now been coverplated/replaced with 'Newcastle' and 'Wollongong' respectively, except on Metroad 7 where 'South Coast' signs have been changed to 'Canberra'.

When Metroad 6 was introduced during 1999, a branch of Metroad 7 was removed from Heathcote Rd, south of Liverpool. Metroad 7 was then re-focused as a Canberra-Newcastle route with the signs changed accordingly. Metroads 3 and 6 have to some extent taken over Metroad 7's former coast-to-coast role, however neither has consistent 'Wollongong' signage north of Metroad 5. Upon entering Sydney on Metroad 1 the first recognition of Wollongong is on the Gore Hill Freeway at Artarmon.


List of active New South Wales Metroad routes
Indexed in numerical order

Wahroonga to Waterfall
Pacific Highway & Princes Highway

Lane Cove to Windsor
Lane Cove Tunnel, Hills Motorway, Windsor Road
Mona Vale to Blakehurst
Mona Vale Road, Ryde Road, Lane Cove Road, Homebush Bay Drive, King Georges Road
Sydney to the Blue Mountains
Western Distributor, City West Link, Parramatta Road, Western Motorway
Airport to Campbelltown
South Western Motorway, Hume Highway
Carlingford to Heathcote
Silverwater Road, Stacey Street, Alfords Point Road, Heathcote Road
Wahroonga to Carlingford
Cumberland Highway (Pennant Hills Road)
Windsor to Campbelltown
The Northern Road
Neutral Bay to Mona Vale
Military Road, Spit Road, Condamine Street, Pittwater Road

Last updated 31 January 2011
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