The Western Motorway - usually known as the M4 - is one of Sydney's most important roads; it is certainly one of the busiest roads in Australia. Its main purpose is to connect the fast-growing corridor of new urban development in the western suburbs of Sydney with central Sydney. However, the freeway fails in this purpose, as it stops about 12km short of downtown Sydney and unceremoniously dumps the traffic onto congested, undivided, badly maintained Parramatta Road, an ugly arterial fringed by car saleyards, discount bedding shops and working-class pubs.

However, where the M4 does succeed is in connecting the outer western suburbs and the Blue Mountains to Parramatta, Sydney's 'second downtown'. Parramatta is a major shopping, entertainment and employment centre in western Sydney.

The M4 has seen its fair share of controversy. The first section opened between Blacktown and Penrith in the early 1970's. This section still goes through pleasant rural land, to the south of the main suburban corridor. The next major section to open was in 1983, between Mays Hill and Strathfield. This section is one of the few elevated freeways in Australia; much of it sits on conrete piers through suburbs such as Silverwater and Rosehill.

In 1993, the most recent section opened, connecting these two earlier built sections. This was New South Wales' first privately built, owned and operated stretch of road. The tollway company, State Wide Roads, was given the right to toll the Western Motorway, however, it chose to put the tollgates near the eastern end of the tollway in Silverwater. This section had been free to use for over ten years, and the decision to charge for use of previously free roadway caused considerable anger and confusion amongst the people of western Sydney.

The M4 has recently been widened along 90% of its length from four lanes to six lanes. This was a much needed upgrade on a stretch of four lane highway that was long overdue. Roadworks were well behind schedule - it took nearly four years to complete, when it was scheduled for two and a half years - and this caused considerable consternation with commuters as well.

However, by no means is the M4 complete. The original plans called for the freeway to go into central Sydney, however every time plans have been considered, inner city NIMBY's have shot it down. The Liberal Party, at the last state election, floated a proposal for a 7km-long tunnel from the freeway's current beginning in Strathfield to Lilyfield to the east, where it would meet up with the short freeway standard road leading to the Glebe Island Bridge.

Below is a guide to the various exits and interchanges along the M4. On the left, you will find distances from the easternmost end of the motorway. These are not entirely accurate, being subject to the vagaries of my odometer. You will then find the route markers and control cities listed on signs; and any services or attractions signed on the M4 on the far right.

All inaccuracies are my fault; comments and suggestions are eagerly solicited at truenorth@one.net.au.

Distance
(Westbound)
WESTBOUND
(Read Down)
EASTBOUND
(Read Up)
OTHER - Services,
Attractions, etc.
0km
START
MOTORWAY
END
MOTORWAY
1km
NO EXIT

CONCORD ROAD
Concord
Strathfield

Concord
2km

HOMEBUSH BAY DRIVE
Hurstville
Homebush Bay
Ryde
Sydney
Markets
3km
NO EXIT
HILL ROAD
Homebush Bay
5km

SILVERWATER ROAD
Bankstown
Silverwater
6km
TOLL - $1.50 (Passenger Cars)
8km

JAMES RUSE DRIVE
Parramatta
Hornsby
Milperra

JAMES RUSE DRIVE
Hornsby
Rosehill
Racecourse
10km
NO EXIT

CHURCH STREET
Parramatta
Milperra
11km
BURNETT STREET
Merrylands West
NO EXIT

Westmead
12km
COLEMAN STREET
NO EXIT

Westmead and
New Childrens'
14km

CUMERLAND HWY
Hornsby
North Coast
Liverpool
South Coast

Westmead and
New Childrens'
19km
PROSPECT HIGHWAY
Blacktown
Seven Hills
Parklea

Blacktown
21km
RESERVOIR ROAD
Blacktown
Eastern Creek
Raceway
22km
SERVICE CENTRE
McDonald's
Caltex
Red Rooster
SERVICE CENTRE
McDonald's
Caltex
23km

WALLGROVE ROAD
Rooty Hill
Richmond
Badgerys Creek

WALLGROVE ROAD
Rooty Hill
Liverpool
Wonderland
Sydney

Australian
Wildlife Park

27km
ERSKINE PARK ROAD
ROPER ROAD

St Clair
Erskine Park
Mount Druitt
NO EXIT
31km
MAMRE ROAD
St Clair
Erskine Park
St Marys
MAMRE ROAD
St Marys
Mount Druitt
St Clair
37km

THE NORTHERN ROAD
Penrith
Windsor
Campbelltown
International
Regatta Centre

Whitewater
Stadium

41km

MULGOA ROAD
Penrith
Wallacia
Richmond

Panthers
Museum of Fire

43km

RUSSELL STREET
Emu Plains
Knapsack
Bridge
46km
END MOTORWAY
START MOTORWAY

© Bradley Torr. Last updated 14-Sep-1999. 1