M1 Princes Hwy/Fwy East
Former Alignments: Bunyip River, Longwarry North and Drouin - Warragul
|Princes Fwy between Bunyip River to Moe River|
As part of the project to duplicate the Princes Highway and convert it to freeway standard between Melbourne and Traralgon, the highway was constructed as a freeway on a new alignment between the Bunyip River and Nilma, bypassing the towns of Drouin and Warragul.
The first segment of the new freeway to open was the Drouin Bypass, taking the highway around Drouin between Robin Hood and Lardner Track. This section was opened to traffic in February 1981.
The next segment took the freeway conditions further east to Nilma, bypassing Warragul to the south. This section, the Warragul Bypass, opened to traffic on 12 December 1985. In order to allow Christmas traffic to bypass Warragul, the duplication of the existing highway east of Nilma was put on hold and resumed following completion of the Warragul Bypass. The duplication of the highway from Nilma to the Moe River was opened to traffic in April 1986, without interchanges at Nilma and Darnum. These were provided later in August 2001 and May 1997 respectively.
The original highway through Warragul took what is now Drouin - Warragul Rd, then under the railway near Warragul Station, and finally via Alfred St.
The final link in the duplicated highway between Melbourne and Drouin remained the section between the Bunyip River and the western end of the Drouin Bypass. In order to maintain adequate local access while preserving access-controls along the highway, the highway was constructed to freeway standard on a new alignment south of the old highway. The Longwarry section of Princes Freeway was completed during 1994. To the west of the Bunyip River, a small section of the former alignment Princes Hwy is still intacted.
The majority of the old highway is now named “Princes Way” (yes, typically unoriginal) and is numbered C102 between Robin Hood and Nilma. The C102 section has officially been declared as “Drouin-Warragul Rd” however the local name of Princes Way wins out on signage. A number of NR1 remnants can be found at the western end of the Princes Way at Longwarry North.
West of the current freeway crossing of the Bunyip River, a small former alignment of the Princes Hwy remains. Today, this section looks like a textbook example of an abandoned section of highway.
Written By Sam Laybutt.
Further information provide by Darren Hodges
Current Route Photos
© 2005. Main Roads Victoria Webmaster. Last Update: 11/02/2006