QUEENSLAND STATE ROUTES


An early example of State Route signage in Brisbane. Photo taken: December 2009.

The Queensland State Route numbering system is confusing to say the least. A mixture of duplicated route numbers, haphazard (and contradictory!) signage and the lack of some definitive publicly-available information on the State route system is to blame. I even once contacted Queensland Department of Main Roads’ (QMR) Brisbane office regarding the route marker on the Mount Lindesay Highway and all they could do was look it up in a street directory! A look at how the system developed may help to explain some of the quirks behind the system.

It appears that the state route system made its debut in 1976 in Brisbane, a few years after New South Wales had introduced its state route system. Presumably the system was developed in partnership with Brisbane City Council as many of the routes traversed roads controlled by the Council rather than QMR. In the following five or so years, the routes in the Brisbane area were expanded further into Logan City, Redland, Moreton and Pine Rivers Shires as well some of the routes through rural and outback Queensland (judging by the ages of some of the directional signs out there). State Routes made their debut on the Gold Coast in about the early 1990s and at a similar time on the Sunshine Coast. Also during the early-to-mid 1990s came the expansion of the system to areas like Townsville, where the numbers have been duplicated (i.e. already in use in the Brisbane area or elsewhere).

This duplication of numbers is one of the biggest problems with QMR’s state route system. It seems when the system was drafted in the 1970s, it was not anticipated that there would be the need to use three digit numbers for state routes (like those used in rural Victoria until the late 90s) and thus rural and outback routes were given only two digit route numbers. Even so, there are still several unused numbers (and a few more that have been recently decommissioned) that could have been used for the newer routes but that would be the logical thing to do wouldn’t it? Instead, it seems that QMR have tried to turn the state route numbering system into more of a regional route numbering system – that is, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Townsville each have their own low-numbered clusters of routes, which are often duplicated elsewhere in the state.

State Route numbers on the Gold Coast were introduced in about the early 1990s, although there may have been a select few routes introduced prior to then. They originally consisted of high two-digit numbers (86 was the lowest number) but for some unknown reason the whole system was revamped in the period 1996-2004 to abolish many of the higher numbers in favour of lower numbers. For example, Smith Street Motorway is now State Route 10 (was originally SR86), Southport-Burleigh Road is now State Route 3 (formerly SR86) and even the Gold Coast Highway has gotten in on the act – it is now numbered State Route 2 (formerly Alternative NR1 then SR87). Full details of the changes can be found under each affected route.

A similar exercise was undertaken on the Sunshine Coast, although on a much smaller scale. State Routes 51 (Emundi-Noosaville) and 53 (Woodford-Landsborough) were replaced around 2002 with State Routes 12 and 6 respectively. The State Route 51 designation was then moved to the Gympie-Kenilworth route, just west of the Sunshine Coast.

Coastal areas have seen a lot of route marking activity, with many new routes popping up since the late 1990s, especially in the Gympie-Bundaberg area and the Cairns area. Unfortunately these routes typically duplicate existing numbers, are not clearly marked on maps and are usually pretty poorly signed.

QMR don’t have a great history with accurate signs. There are numerous relics of former routes hanging around the place like a bad smell, not to mention some very decrepit looking freeway green and/or black signs that have been coverplated to keep costs down (presumably). On the three occasions that I have ventured to Queensland, each time the route marking system seems to be in a time of change – in 1996 the Gold Coast Hwy was signed with a mixture of SR2 and Alt-NR1 shields, with the odd SR87 shield thrown in there. Heaven for us roadgeeks but hell for the poor motorist who is trying to navigate via route markers.

Though, looking at the system, there are some semblances of a once well-planned system. In Brisbane, multiples of ten are used for circumferential routes whilst the numbers tend to begin in the inner south, then increase generally in an anti-clockwise direction. Of course, the addition of new routes to the system and introduction of Metroads in Brisbane have caused chaos with the state route system. Once you leave the Brisbane area, the 5x and 6x numbers appeared to have been reserved for the Sunshine Coast (with some 6x in use in more rural areas of the State as well) whilst the 8x and 9x were used for the Gold Coast and South East Queensland. Notable examples include State Route 95 which, in its glory days, stretched all the way from East Brisbane to the Gold Coast, via Waterford and Hope Island.

In the country areas there doesn’t seem to be a discernible pattern, especially as it can be hard to tell which routes have been around since the 70s/80s and which ones are new additions. What I do like about the route designations in the country areas is that they are not just town-town routes, in fact State Route 85 (until it was split in half by the Gore Highway’s elevation to National Highway status) stretched for nearly 600km. Even now, State Routes 49 and 62 rack up over 1000km and 900km respectively.

Follow the links below to find out more about each route in the State Route system. The first three links take you to overviews of the route numbering changes that took place in Brisbane, and around the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

Overview of major route marking changes
(coming soon)

Brisbane
The introduction of the State Route Numbering System
Gold Coast
Major changes during the 1990s
Sunshine Coast
Major changes during the 1990s

List of active Queensland State Routes
Indexed in numerical order, with regional location marked in bold

Note: This list has been revised to only include routes which are 'signed' - this does include some routes in Brisbane which are not signed well, but are still considered 'active'.

Gold Coast
NSW Border at Coolangatta to Helensvale via Gold Coast Hwy
Gold Coast
Andrews to Southport via Bermuda St
Southern Queensland
Isis Highway (Childers-Bundaberg) and Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd
Gold Coast
Carrara to Oxenford via Griffith University and Hope Island
Sunshine Coast
Woodford to Cooroy via Beerwah, Caloundra, Maroochydoore and Noosaville
Gold Coast
Robina Parkway
Central Queensland
Fitzroy Developmental Road (Dawson Highway to Capricorn Highway)
Sunshine Coast
Maroochydoore to Woombye
Townsville
Ingham Road & Sturt Street
Brisbane
Inner Suburbs Ring via Balmoral, Camp Hill, Holland Park, Annerley, South Brisbane, Spring Hill, and Newstead
Gold Coast
Pacific Motorway to Southport via Smith Street Motorway
Sunshine Coast
Nambour to Bli Bli
Brisbane
Acacia Ridge to Holland Park via Coopers Plains
Sunshine Coast
Yandina to Coolum Beach
Sunshine Coast
Eumundi to Noosaville
Southern Queensland
Gin Gin to Langley Flat via Mt Perry
Townsville
Woolcock St & Boundary St
Brisbane
Buranda to Bowen Hills
South East Queensland
Gympie to Tin Can Bay
Townsville
Cluden to West End via Townsville CBD and North Ward
Townsville
Stuart Drive, Bowen Road, Charters Towers Road
Northern/Central Queensland
Barcaldine to Hughenden via Aramac and Muttaburra

Brisbane
Inner-Middle Suburbs Ring (now split into three parts following introduction of Metroads)

Gold Coast
Nerang to Southport
Brisbane
Gateway Motorway to Victoria Point
Brisbane
Cleveland to Dayboro via South Brisbane (now split into two parts following introduction of Metroads)
Brisbane
Kangaroo Point to Wynnum
Brisbane
Morningside to Port of Brisbane via Lytton Rd
Gold Coast
Surfers Paradise to Molendiner via Ashmore Rd
Northern Queensland
McHugh Road (Kennedy Hwy to Millaa Millaa)
Brisbane
Fortitude Valley to Pinkenba via Kingsford Smith Dr
Northern Queensland
Palmerston Highway, Milla Milla-Malanda Rd & Malanda-Atherton Rd
Brisbane
Fortitude Valley to Burpengary via Sandgate Rd, Deagon Deviation, Snook St and Deception Bay

Brisbane
Stafford to Scarborough via Zillmere, Sandgate and Redcliffe

Northern Queensland
Mareeba to Chillagoe
Brisbane
Aspley to Strathpine via Albany Creek
Brisbane
Everton Park to Everton Hills via South Pine Rd
Brisbane
Outer-Middle Suburbs Ring via Lindum, Manly, Chandler, Springwood, Compton Rd, Inala and Progress Rd
Brisbane
Brisbane CBD to Mount Glorious via Ashgrove and The Gap
Brisbane
Milton Road
Brisbane
Riverview to Brisbane CBD via Moggill Rd and Coronation Dr
Brisbane
Toowong to St Lucia
Brisbane
Indooroopilly to Heathwood via Oxley and Durack
Brisbane
Mains Road
Brisbane
Mount Crosby Rd
Brisbane
Ipswich Central to Warrego Hwy at Muirlea
Brisbane
Ipswich Central alternative route
Brisbane
Outer-Middle Northern Suburbs Ring (used for Logan Motorway prior to introduction of Metroads as well)
Gold Coast
Nielsens Road & Alexander Drive
Brisbane
South Brisbane to Upper Mt Gravatt via Cavendish and Newnham Roads
Central Queensland
Clermont to Alpha
Gold Coast
Mudgeeraba to Advancetown via Gilston
Brisbane
Tingalpa to Wellington Point
Brisbane
Capalaba to Thornlands
Northern Queensland
Captain Cook Hwy & Mossman-Mt Molloy Rd
Brisbane
Capalaba to Carbrook via Mount Cotton
Brisbane
Wellington Point to Thornlands via Cleveland
Brisbane
Cleveland to Loganholme via Redland Bay
Southern Queensland
Karara to Cambooya via Leyburn
Southern Queensland
Wide Bay Highway, Bunya Highway, Moonie Highway & Balonne Highway
Brisbane
Browns Plains Road to Slacks Creek via Logan Central
Gold Coast
Carrara to Tallai
South East Queensland
Gympie to Kenilworth
Southern Queensland
Isis Highway (Ban Ban Springs to Childers section)
Northern Queensland
Gillies Hwy, Atherton-Herberton Rd and Longfords Gap-Herberton Rd
Brisbane
Burbank to Birkdale via Capalaba
Brisbane
Old Cleveland Rd East
Brisbane
Coopers Plains to Rochedale via Sunnybank and Eight Mile Plains
Brisbane
Sunnybank to Underwood via Kuraby
Southern Queensland
Maryborough to Hervey Bay
Brisbane
Bald Hills to D'Aguilar via Petrie and Dayboro

Brisbane
Burpengary to Beerburrum via Caboolture

Central Queensland
Dawson Highway (Gladstone to Rolleston)
Brisbane
Ipswich to Goodna via Redbank Plains
Brisbane
Ipswich to Wulkuraka
Northern/Central Queensland
Kennedy Developmental Road
Northern Queensland
Gregory Developmental Road (Charters Towers to The Lynd)
Central Queensland
Fitzroy Developmental Rd (north of Capricorn Hwy)
Southern Queensland
Oakey to Cooyar
Central Queensland
Calliope to Monto
Sunshine Coast
Sunshine Motorway & Water Hay Drive
Central Queensland
Peak Downs Highway
Brisbane
Petrie to Recliffe
Northern Queensland
Ross River Rd & Herveys Range Developmental Rd
Southern Queensland
Bungunya to Condamine via Westmar and Meandarra
Southern Queensland
Durong to Mundubbera
Brisbane
Kelvin Grove Rd & Enoggera Rd
Central Queensland
Bowen Developmental Road (west of Collinsville to Gregory Developmental Rd)
Gold Coast
Burleigh Heads to Reedy Creek
Southern Queensland
Gatton to Leyburn via Clifton
Northern Queensland
Mareeba to Weipa
Southern Queensland
Inglewood to Tingoora via Millmerran, Cecil Plains, Dalby, Jandowae and Durong
Gold Coast
Advancetown to Binna Burra
Northern Queensland
Wills Developmental Road
Southern Queensland
Nindigully to Goondiwindi, then from Hampton to Bribie Island via Esk and Kilcoy
Southern Queensland
Biggenden to Maryborough
Southern Queensland
Dalby to Surat
Brisbane
Camp Cable Road
Southern Queensland
Stanthorpe to Inglewood via Texas
Southern Queensland
Pikedale to Inglewood via Lake Coolmunda
South East Queensland
Fassifern to Broadbeach via Boonah, Beaudesert, Canungra and Nerang
Cairns
Cairns Western Arterial Road
South East Queensland
Beenleigh to Mundoolun via Tamborine
South East Queensland
Haigslea to Rathdowney via Walloon and Boonah
Townsville
Currajong to Condon
Brisbane
Browns Plains to Beenleigh
Brisbane
Oxenford to Upper Mount Gravatt via Tamborine & Kingston
Brisbane
Yatala to Pimpama via Jacobs Well
Gold Coast
Tamborine Mountain to Clagiraba
Southern Queensland
D'Aguilar Highway (Nanago to Kingaroy section)
Gold Coast
Nerang-Murwillumbah Road
Gold Coast
Currumbin to Tomewin
Gold Coast
Mudgeeraba to Springbrook

Last updated 9 November 2012
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