Skip to page contentText Only Site About Us | Contact Us | Publications | Online Transactions | Forms | Careers | Contracts & Tenders
<img src="/web/20060825191214im_/" width="402" height="63" border="0" alt="">  
Sat 26th Aug 06
Licences & Certification
Personal Transport
Transport Network
Educational Resources

Site Map | Site Help | Feedback
  Search Advanced Search  | Font Font Increase  Font Decrease
  News, Media & Cams

Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway

Information on this page includes:


Overview of Stage 1

  • Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway is a 5.5 kilometre four-lane expressway link between Francis Street and South Road with overpasses at each of the junctions of South Road, Hanson Road, and Eastern Parade. It also included the construction of Hanson Road to Cormack Road from the expressway, providing access to the expressway from the south.
  • Stage 1 was opened to traffic on 19 July 2005, with field works commencing in December 2002.
  • Funding for the project was a joint contribution between State and Federal governments under the Roads of National Importance Program (RONI).
  • The four-lane expressway was delivered through a Design-Construct-Maintain (DCM) contract by South Australian company Bardavcol Pty Ltd

Formation of Stage 1 Road Breaking up recycled concrete

 View of Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway from the South Road overpass, looking east



Stage 1 included the construction of three overpasses at each of the junctions of South Road, Hanson Road and Eastern Parade.

South Road overpass:

  • The South Road overpass is a roadway loop connecting the expressway with Salisbury Highway and South Road through a portion of the existing Barker Inlet Wetlands.
  • The need for an overpass at South Road, Wingfield became evident as a result of emerging developments in the South Australian economy, particularly for the north west sector. The forecasted increase in rail freight movements from 6-8 movements per day to a maximum of 30 movements per day in grain carting season presented the real prospect of traffic delays at the South Road, Wingfield level crossing, reflecting back to the junction with the expressway. The overpass will ease this tension between traffic and the increased use of the rail network.
  • Improvements to the wetlands completed in early 2004, in addition to the construction of the South Road overpass, have included the creation of deeper water holes to help prevent them from drying out, creation of islands for fauna and flora and an increase in the wetlands capacity to retain water.
  • Improvements to the wetlands are expected to enhance the attractiveness of the wetlands for bird life. It is thought that over thirty species of birds could potentially occupy or use the Barker Inlet Wetlands at some stage.
  • To cater for bird life during the operation of the overpass, two drainage crossings, large enough for swans, were built under the structure to allow passage to the cental water basin (Keller's Hole) located in the roadway loop. Drains were also interlinked to the central water basin to provide access for bird life.

Hanson Road overpass:

  • The Hanson Road overpass provides a smooth passage on and off the expressway and direct access to the proposed Eco-Industrial Precinct, endorsed by the State Government.
  • Hanson Road has been duplicated to four-lanes between the expressway and Cormack Road. The Hanson Road link provides a more efficient and quicker route for heavy freight vehicles travelling between Adelaide's northern and southern suburbs.

Eastern Parade overpass:

  • The Eastern Parade overpass spans approximately 270 metres over Eastern Parade and the freight rail line to Port Flat Yard, where considerable delays for traffic were previously experienced due to trains queuing across level crossings.
  • In a number of locations, Reinforced Earth retaining walls have been incorporated within the embankments of the overpass where retaining structures were required. ´┐ŻAshlar' precast concrete facing panels have been used and provide a rock type finish.
  • The Eastern Parade overpass has urban design features such as bright blue steel beams and reinforced earth walls with a rock face appearance to create an industrial theme, characteristic of Port Adelaide.


Environmental Considerations

The Port River Expressway has proven to be one of the most environmentally complex and challenging road projects in South Australia's history.

The project is unlike any other due to its geotechnical and environmental elements, which has meant respect for the environment has guided every aspect of planning and construction activities.

Landscaping Objectives

The main objective of Stage 1 landscape design was to ensure that it created a unique, safe and attractive experience for road users. The expressway was constructed on approximately two metres of fill material, which provides a raised platform from which to view the landscape.

The landscape has been transformed into an open native woodland featuring large stands of native grasses, which is a dramatic change from the existing landscape of industrial fill and vacant allotments. Low shrubs and cluster tree-planting supports the continuation of views over the wetlands and tidal landscapes to the north. The landscape also provides vantage points to view the surrounding features, including the wetlands and views towards the Port.

Landscape Design

The landscape design of the expressway acknowledges the importance of long-term improvement and care for the environment. The landscape design:

  • Used existing vegetation where possible.
  • Ensured that remnant vegetation areas were protected during construction.
  • Used seed collected from local sources, including remnant roadside vegetation, to be used for new planting.
  • Used native plant species which occur in the Port Adelaide area, and limited the use of exotic species.

Click here to view list of species found currently around the expressway.

More than 300 000 trees, shrubs and native grasses have been planted along the expressway (Stage 1). Local species were used, as they are suited to the local conditions and environment and assist in maintaining a native scheme. The native species chosen have all been raised successfully in commercial nurseries and were able to be either locally sourced or grown specifically for the project. Many trees have guards as protection from hares and rabbits.

Recycling Landfill

  • One of the main challenges of Stage 1 of the project was managing the existing waste and fill materials located on the site in an environmentally sustainable way.
  • The close proximity of the Port River Expressway to recycling industries enabled the contractor to use recycled material for 1.7 million tonnes of fill required for this project - equivalent to 75 000 fully loaded semi trailers. This was used to meet the Coast Protection Board's requirement that the road level be three metres above sea level.
  • Approximately fifty per cent of the site was covered with up to two metres of uncontrolled fill which has been deposited along the alignment over the past 100 years. Much of this fill consisted of demolition material such as bricks, concrete and rubble. An area of 300 metres in length contained household rubbish, which had been buried in pits up to four metres below the original ground surface. Another area, 400 metres in length contained demolition material also buried in pits.
  • A significant amount of resources were recovered from over 94 000 tonnes of waste during the construction of Stage 1, which otherwise would have been removed from the site. This waste was processed and combined with better quality recycled material to build the base of the expressway. Larger waste such as tyres was recovered by machinery, whilst smaller waste items such as timber, plastic, rubber and metal was removed by hand so it could be taken to the appropriate recycling depots for further reuse.

Breaking up recycled concrete
Breaking up recycled concrete

  • Clean fill from the Torrens Road upgrade and City West Connector projects, which would have otherwise gone to landfill, were also used. Recycled, broken down concrete and bricks were used to build a working platform for the Eastern Parade, South Road and Hanson Road overpasses.
  • Traditionally, fill material for a road project such as the Port River Expressway would have been sourced from a quarry or borrow pit, however the relative cost to do this would have been high as the nearest quarries are more than 10 kilometres from the Port River Expressway site. The Port River Expressway project was therefore heavily reliant on the availability of cost-effective sources of fill material due to the large volumes required.

The Port River Expressway project has highlighted how recycled materials can be successfully incorporated into a roadworks project with no compromise to the final product, subsequently preventing the need to quarry new materials, saving resources for future generations.

The Wetlands (Barker Inlet, Range and Magazine Creek)

Overview of Barker Inlet Wetlands

Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway is located 12 kilometres northwest of Adelaide, near Wingfield in an area which is characterised by swampy, tidal samphire vegetation. This area includes three constructed storm water wetlands: the Barker Inlet Wetlands, Range Wetlands and Magazine Creek Wetlands.

All three wetlands systems discharge into the mangrove estuary of North Arm Creek, which flows into the Barker Inlet Aquatic Reserve. This reserve supports the world's most southern stand of the grey mangrove, Avicennia Marina, and acts as a major fish spawning and nursery site. The wetlands are fed by storm water drainage systems, carrying urban and industrial storm water runoff from a catchment of about 4500 hectares extending as far away as North Adelaide.

The wetlands have been constructed to:

  • Improve storm water quality.
  • Improve visual amenity and provide recreational opportunities.
  • Increase habitat values and habitat diversity.
  • Provide an opportunity to harvest and reuse storm water.

DTEI paid careful attention to managing water quality in the wetlands during the construction of Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway and continues to do so during its operation. Legal requirements guiding this issue are set out in the Environment Protection Act, 1993 and the Water Resources Act, 1997. In addition, strict procedures were developed for the contractor to carry out works to prevent pollution of surface, ground and marine waters. These prevention measures included weekly water quality monitoring at eight locations along the Stage 1 alignment. This monitoring measured salinity, pH, turbidity and water colour.

The wetlands are at the end of five major drainage lines: Jenkins Street Drain, Eastern Parade Drain, North Arm Drain, Hanson Road Drain and South Road Drain (see diagram below).

The drainage design included the following measures to manage any spills during construction and operation of the expressway before reaching the wetlands:

  • Using existing tidal gates in the Barker Inlet Wetlands to isolate spills.
  • Developing a management plan to deal with spills including the provision of spill kits and sand bags.

Location of eight water quality monitoring points, Stage 1 Roadworks.
Location of eight water quality monitoring points, Stage 1 Roadworks .

Port River Expressway commended for environmental engineering

A commendation was awarded to Transport Services Division (formerly Transport SA) in partnership with Tonkin Consulting and Bardavcol Pty Ltd in October 2004, for their successful management of site contamination for Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway project.

The commendation was won in the Environmental Engineering category of the South Australia Division Engineering Excellence Awards for Engineers Australia.

DTEI and its project partners received the commendation award in recognition of their innovative and environmentally friendly management of contaminated material on the Port River Expressway ´┐Ż Stage 1 site.

The Port River Expressway Stage 1 team from the Department of Transport and Urban Planning (Transport SA), Tonkin Consulting
The Port River Expressway Stage 1 team from the Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, Tonkin Consulting and Bardavcol Pty. Ltd.

From left to right:

  • Adrian Smith, Division President, Engineers Australia, South Australia Division.
  • Rene Arrens, Principal Consultant, Tonkin Consulting.
  • Peter Rusk, Environment Officer, Bardavcol Pty Ltd.
  • Adam Cheeseman, Sponsor representative from Bluescope Steel.
  • Jeff Goode, Major Projects Co-ordinator, DTEI.
  • Glenn Passfield, Senior Engineer, Tonkin Consulting.

Environmental Assessment Report




Environmental Assessment Report (released on November 2000)


Environmental Report Executive Summary

51 Kb




Supplement to the Environmental Report (released on July 2001)


Page 1 Cover and Inside Cover Page

481 Kb

Page 2 Report

172 Kb

Page 3 Estimated Traffic Volumes

302 Kb

Page 4 Estimated Truck Volumes

1.1 Mb

This document includes summaries and descriptions of the:

  • Project and its history
  • Need for new road and rail arrangements and the projected traffic flows
  • Alternatives to the proposed highway and rail connections
  • Existing biophysical environment
  • Existing social environment, including Aboriginal and European cultural matters
  • Commercial activities and land uses in the vicinity of the new highway
  • Potential impacts of the project on the:
  • Biological environment
  • Physical environment (including stormwater management)
  • Social environment
  • Commercial activities, including tourism
  • Methods of minimising adverse impacts and enhancing positive impacts


Maps and photos

Images available on this page include:

Artists Impressions

Artists Impression of the South Road overpass linking South Road, Salisbury Hwy and the Port River Expressway.

Artists Impression of the Hanson Road overpass

Construction Photos

Aerial photo of Stage 1 construction looking towards Port Adelaide in March 2005

Click on thumbnails below to view full image

Stage 1 under construction Docks 1 and 2 with Stage 1 construction in background Construction of the Eastern Parade Overpass Construction of the Hanson Road Overpass Construction of the Eastern Parade Overpass
Eastern Parade Bridge Girders Eastern Parade Bridge Girders Eastern Parade Overpass South Road Overpass Stage 1 Construction


Aerial Photos

Docks 1 & 2 with the expressway in the background, August 2005

Click on thumbnails below to view full image

Eastern Parade Overpass Expressway5 Hanson Road Overpass South Road Overpass


Location Maps


Title and Description


Map of Port River Expressway location from UBD Adelaide Street Directory


Location of PRExy Stage 1 with Stages 2 & 3 Connector




Printer friendly page      Email this page