The Freeway To Nowhere

Location: Margaret Street, Sydney
The Western Distributor, a freeway interchange which distributes traffic coming off the Harbour Bridge on the city's western side, includes an on-ramp which goes nowhere. Well, it does - straight up into the underside of the freeway flyover above it!

The ramp was once an accessway for traffic entering the Western Distributor from Margaret Street. The Western Distributor was originally designed as a two-level roadway and the parts constructed initially were those meant to collect and distribute traffic to/from the CBD. There was at that time only one through lane between the Harbour Bridge and Anzac Bridge, with the other lanes exiting and entering at various city streets. The "ramp to nowhere" was one of those entry points, it being an on-ramp for traffic entering the distributor at Margaret Street and travelling south then west.

With the completion of the Anzac Bridge, the capacity of the Distributor needed to be addressed. A widening project was commenced towards the end of 2002, to widen the viaduct between King St and the Harbour Bridge to six lanes and provide two through lanes in each direction along the entire route. As the corridor between the buildings from Kent Street to the Harbour Bridge could not be widened, the new viaduct would have to take up the full width of the existing corridor, which meant any infrastructure in its way that could not be incorporated into the widened roadway had to go. The on-ramp from Margaret Street was such a casualty, as it lay in the line of the new widened viaduct. For a number of years the unused on-ramp was used for parking, however access was causing problems to traffic flow in the area, so it was eventually closed off completely by the removal of the section connecting the ramp to Margaret Street.

Another casualty of the widening project was the Erskine Street off-ramp for north-bound traffic, which was closed in 2001 and all trace removed by the completion of widening in January 2004. The ramp was replaced by a new one which allowed traffic to enter the city via King Street. That ramp is still in use today.

Druitt Street Off-Ramp Stub

A little further south from the "on-Ramp to Nowhere" is an "off-ramp to nowhere". It's harder to spot but you can easily find it if you go looking. The original plans for the Western Distributor allowed for an off-ramp for traffic heading east to enter the city via Druitt Street. This ramp was dropped when plans were changed midway through construction. The beginning of the ramp is now used as an entry point from Druitt Street into Day Street. The stub of the off-ramp on the western side of the freeway remains.

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