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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Any interest in a thread around photos and information around abandoned and bypassed sections of old highway?

One of my favourite abandoned sections of old road is this bit of former Highway One just west of Orbost, near Simpsons Creek in East Gippsland, Victoria. I call it the "Ghost Railway" former alignment.

It consists of a 1.75km abandoned western section which is mainly still drivable but blocked by fallen trees in the centre. The 3.5km eastern section is still in use as Joiners Rd and, although narrower now than in its Highway One glory days, is still a nice old style country drive.

The abandoned Orbost railway line crosses at the junction of the east and west sections. and 100m or so from the east end of the abandoned section of the old road there's a railway crossing sign painted on the road. There's something poignant about a sign on an abandoned road warning about an abandoned railway :)

Check out this Google Map for details.
 

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Tweed Valley Way? :tongue2:

My favourite would be the old Pacific Highway (now Wootton Way) through O'Sullivans Gap north of Bulahdelah. A lot of the old infrastructure is still in place. I enjoy taking a fang through there from time to time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Tweed Valley Way is a great old alignment and a great drive now that the traffic's moved east with the motorway. Some of the little towns are doing it tough since the bypass - the Victory Hotel at Mooball was alway packed especially at lunchtime and you couldn't even park NEAR the MooMoo Cafe; VERY different now that the MooMoo is closed and the Victory is very very quiet. The near simultaneous closing of the Murwillumbah branch railway with the opening of the big bypass around 2005 has not done a lot of favours to the area but that's another story...

Wooton way is a great drive still but it's just starting to be recalimed by nature around the edges. It's like driving on a highway in one of those "end of the world" disaster films lol
 

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When travelling to the Southern Highlands and I have a bit of time, I will go down Remembrance Drive, which was the old Hume Highway before the freeway opened. Towns like Bargo and Yerrinbool have managed to survive because they are also located on the main southern railway line and within a commuter catchment belt to Sydney, but they have obviously had better days...
 

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^^ The Bendooley Hill section of the former Hume Hwy near Berrima still retains the dual carriageways.

The Old Federal Hwy on approach to Lake George from Canberra is another example of an "end of the world disaster film" road. A lot of the curve advisory signage is still in place but parts of the road have been resealed over the years. However, I recall some sections were so neglected that the former yellow unbroken centre lines were showing through.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ah the old yellow centre line! Can you believe it was discontinued as far back now as the mid-1980s? Remnant old yellow centre line is a good indicator that the section of old road in question has a much grander past :)
 

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I've been through Mooball a few times, it is a pleasant drive. Used to be 2 ways to drive from Brisbane to Byron, either the coast or through Murwillumbah and the hills, both very scenic. And now replaced by the big road in the middle and its tunnels.

The Big Pineapple near Nambour is another tourist spot that died out after the highway moved. There are some moves to revive it now, but it must have got a lot people passing by on the Bruce before.

Driving from Brisbane to the Gold Coast used to be a lot different too, I think some of the old Pacific Highway became a service road to the present one. I remember you used to leave the SE Freeway and travel through the Brisbane suburbs on Logan Road, past the Big Gun at Underwood and the Glen hotel, at Pimpana the Pacific Highway used to go past the church with the war memorial statue of a soldier at the front (still there, but just on a side road now).

Driving away from the cities you still see some of the old alignments with bridges and bitumen no longer used by the main highway. Some of the old bridges look very basic, often wooden and 1 lane.
 

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There are big sections of the old Hume Highway still around which have basically become access roads for the many rural properties along the route.

It's amazing to think that those narrow little sections and cuttings used to be the main drag from Sydney to Melbourne.
 

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The Old Calder Hwy is a good one to chase up, there are lots of even older alignments to seek out in parts.

Even if you're not a roadnut, it's still a good drive - used to be wicked fun back in the day with all the trucks and tight overtakes, though it's a bit more sedate now.

Taradale and Harcourt were always dead, but Malmsbury seems to have copped it hard - I don't know if the yuppies only appear at certain times, but it was a ghost town last time I passed through. It used to be very busy as a popular rest stop, especially after the earlier bypasses of Kyneton and Woodend. Most of the roadside apple vendors around Harcourt appear to have closed up too.
 

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The Steve Irwin Way at the Sunshine Coast hinterland (Glasshouse/Beerwah/Landsborough) was formerly the Bruce Highway before it was moved east. It was also called Glasshouse Mountains Road prior to it being renamed Steve Irwin Way.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The Big Pineapple is a sad tale apparently brough to a head by a combination of neglect and of course the bypass of Nambour by the M1 way back when. Hopefully the new owners will be able to bring the big prickly beast back to its former glory :)

WRT the old Pacific Highway in QLD; heading northbound from the NSW border it's possible to drive from Coolangatta to the north end of Steve Irwin Way (which is indeed an old alignment) on glorious Old Highway One alignments. They're still there, sometimes hard to find, but always historic and worthwhile :)

The major arterial roads (dare I say interstates lol) have certainly changed. I guess we just didn't have any higher expectations of the roads back then and accepted them as they were. The Hume Highway (Motorway?) and it's old alignments is a really interesting story, up there with the old alignments of Highway One.

The old Calder Highway sound like a great drive, I'll check it out next time I'm down there.

So many roads so little time lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Here are some pics for the "Ghost Railway" alignment of Old Highway One west of Orbost. There's DEFINITELY something poignant about a sign on an abandoned road warning about an abandoned railway.

The old alignment is remarkably clear though narrow:


The western section is returning to nature FAST:


The old warning sign:
 

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The old Princes Highway/ Mt Barker Road is a good example of this. In it's hey day it was used as the main route to the Adelaide Hills, eastern SA and interstate. It was also famous for it's notorious tight hairpin turn (Devils Elbow) which was a scene of some nasty crashes in the past.

This was eventually replaced by the current 6-lane Adelaide-Crafers Highway in 2000, which is now known as another part of the South Eastern Freeway. The old 4-lane highway now carries only local traffic and cyclists so it's got a very eerie look, including a derelict petrol station.
 

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The Great Western Highway west of Russell Street at Emu Plains was superseded by the M4 further to the south in 1993.

This photo is at its crossing with the railway line. This section is still open to local traffic as well as for those heading down Mitchells Pass Road eastbound (it is one way eastbound only past Lennox Bridge). The central median is still there, but has been linemarked to now only be one lane each way with parking areas along the kerb...



This is about 1km south west, at the Knapsack Gully Viaduct, dating back to the early 1860s. It is now closed to traffic (it is closed just past the Mitchells Pass Road intersection), but still accessible for pedestrians. It is easy to see why this section here was superseded.

 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thanks everyone for sharing your recollections of those great old alignments. Here's another different old bit of Old Highway One pavement. It's near Gootchie just south of Bauple in Queensland (not far north of Gympie).

Best estimates are that it was orphaned when the road was realigned east likely in the mid-1950s i.e. about the time Highway One was declared. It's on private land now and an old bridge over Gutchie Creek was demolished or swept away long ago. It used to curve northeast to join modern Molteno Rd. The old alignment still shows as a track on Google.

Interestingly it's a concrete construction which was often used in flood-prone areas (which is probably why this short stretch was eventually realigned). That is obviously the case with this bit of old road because flood water had recently swept across it causing all the grass to lie in one direction and there's still water lying all around. What is amazing is that:
  • the centre line is still visible
  • if you were to mow the long grass coming up in the joins between the slabs of concrete the road is quite drivable
After more than 50 years of abandonment that's pretty cool. They don't build them like that any more :)

 

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Discussion Starter #18
Here's another favourite old alignment.

The 1km Burdekin Bridge (the “Silver Link”) provides a critical North Queensland rail and road link, particularly during the “wet”. Completed in 1958 it’s one of the longest multi-span bridges in Australia and is, incredibly, entirely supported by sand. The Burdekin Bridge was recently recognised as a National Engineering Heritage Landmark.

Before the completion of the “Silver Link” in 1957, road traffic was really only usually able to reliably cross the Burdekin River before the “wet” was in full force. East of the current bridge, traffic made its way across the river bed firstly over a low wooden bridge (across the permanent or standing water in the river), then over a low concrete causeway and then over a dirt road built on the river bed. The dirt road was built up from large numbers of truckloads of soil during the dry and then usually swept away by the floods each wet season, only for the process to repeat the next year.

The amazing old dirt road alignment is still there intact for intrepid explorers to discover - don't try driving across the river bed though, and watch for crocs BTW :)

Here's a Google Map of the old alignment - the river crossing path is best estimate by me based on talks with old timers but most of the old alignment is direct recollection of old residents (therefore southern alignment may not be 100%). If memories are accurate then part of the old alignment on the south side of Home Hill is obliterated by later development:
http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=203743655990651245330.0004bcbe28e85b9366f78

Here are some casualties still lying alongside the old alignment - victims of bogging/breakdown/flooding I presume..?


The old alignment heads south across the river bed...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
"Cooperabung" Old Alignment

There's an interesting, winding old alignment of the Pacific Highway near Cooperabung north of Port Macquarie. Accessed by Yarrabee Rd, it's split into north and south sections.

Here's a link to a Google map: http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=203743655990651245330.0004bdaa875d0d9f09cb0

The approx. 1km south section is still in use as access to properties and features remnants of an old yellow centre line. The north section is blocked by a gate and is now the Mt Cooperabung Hillclimb. What a drive THAT must have been when it was part of Narional Route 1 :)

This is the southern section. It deadends at a cutting above the modern highway. It used to cross west to join Cooperabung Drive (the alignment through Telegraph Point).


This is the hillclimb section. It's locked up but still makes a great walk:
 
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