Brisbane’s Mystery Route Is Back!

This is an e-mail that I wrote to Spencer Howson, the 612 ABC Brisbane breakfast announcer (5am-7:45am on 612 AM in Brisbane) when I discovered the Port of Brisbane Motorway had gained M4 signs.

Hey Spencer,

I couldn’t find your show’s name in the E-Mail contact page’s drop down of shows on the ABC website, so I thought I’d send you this on Twitter.

I decided to take a drive today down to the Port Of Brisbane to check out all the new roadwork that has been happening down there when I noticed some new signage. I’ll tell you what that was in a minute.

I googled this new signage and came across this blog post of yours from 2008: ( ) discussing what was at the time, some new changes being made to the route numbering system in Brisbane. One of the main points you made was “where is the M4?”. Well after 4 years of disappearing, route M4 is back in Brisbane! The Port of Brisbane Motorway now has the route number of M4, replacing the existing State Route 42 marking (well some signs do, they’re still working on it).

So I’ve decided to make 2 maps for you. The first map is what the route numbering situation was like back in 2004, when Brisbane was still exclusively using the Metroad marking system (those white hexagons with a blue border and blue numbers in them, these were only ever used in Sydney and Brisbane’s metropolitan areas, nowhere else in the world) and the only alphanumeric routes anywhere near Brisbane were the Pacific Motorway (M1) south of the Logan Motorway interchange and the Warrego Highway (A2). I apologise for the quality of my maps, I did them in Microsoft Paint with a mouse. The blue is water, the solid lines are roads of Motorway grade standard and the dotted roads are main suburban roads such as Gympie Road and Kessels Road or major rural roads with one lane each way (such as the Mt Lindesay Highway south of Park Ridge towards Beaudesert). Each continuous route has its own colour.

Brisbane’s Route Numbering System 2004

The second map is what the QLD government has implemented so far. Most of the implementation work is done, although I have issues with some of the decisions they’ve made.

Brisbane’s Route Numbering System November 2012

Brisbane’s Route Numbering System November 2012

For some reason, they still haven’t phased out Metroad 6 and replaced it with an M6 marker yet. Also, I don’t know what they’re going to do with the orphaned section of Metroad 2 along Granard Road, Riawena Road, Kessels Road & Mt Gravatt-Capalaba Road. They can’t change it to the A2, because we already have an M2 and you’re not supposed to repeat numbers for unconnected sections of road, even if they have different letters (although the QLD government broke that rule by deciding to use A3, A4, A5, A6 and A7 in rural Queensland and also in Metro Brisbane for unrelated roads, so now the system is broken, and we’ll be the only state who’s implemented this to end up with those mistakes).

The same orphaning problem will occur again when Legacy Way is opened, because I can almost guarentee that the M5 route will continue off the Western Freeway and into the Legacy Way tunnel and then terminate at the Inner City Bypass (M3). So what is going to happen to the Metroad 5 route that currently snakes its way up through the western suburbs of Brisbane and then across Stafford Road? Same issue, they can’t change it to A5, if the M5 route will continue up Legacy Way.

Finally, they also need to update the route number for the Mt Lindesay Highway and Beaudesert Road from the current National Route 13 (black & white shield) marker to A13 (and do the same with the Brisbane Valley Highway too actually, it needs changing to A17, not pictured on my maps).

So yea, anyway, thought I would just share that the M4 is BACK in Brisbane, 4 years after you asked where it had gone! It will now take you down to the Port of Brisbane (and thankfully that dangerous 90 degree turn at Fort Lytton is now gone. When it’s completely done, it should be 2 lanes each way of motorway from the Gateway Motorway to Export Street). Should be a quicker and safer journey for all the trucks going down there.