Melbourne’s freeway ‘ghost ramps’

Melbourne has the largest freeway network of any Australian city, and with it, possibly the country’s largest collection of ‘ghost ramps’ – pieces of freeway that lead nowhere.

End of the Ring Road

Planning for a future that never came

The best known bit of ghost roadway is the incomplete ramp at Chandler Highway on the Eastern Freeway, along with an associated road overpass. Marked in a number of Melway directories since the freeway opened in 1977, the ramp was intended to take eastbound traffic beneath the Chandler Highway and then onto the proposed E6 freeway, which has never been built. The alignment remains in place today, along with a short piece of roadway leading from the in-use off ramp.

Eastern Freeway at the Chandler Highway interchange

It still might happen

Ghost ramps also exist for a partially completed roads, such as the Mornington Peninsula Freeway at Jetty Road in Rosebud South. The freeway itself opened between here and the Nepean Highway at Dromana in 1975, but in the 1980s it was decided to extend the freeway a short distance west towards Boneo Road.

It was decided to only build the southern carriageway of the road and omit the freeway overpass at Jetty Road, leaving a road towards Portsea to be built on the alignment of the future westbound entry ramp, leaving large earth embankment at the city end of the road, and a short road to nowhere where the future freeway will land.

Mornington Peninsula Freeway at the Jetty Road interchange

Moved due to new roads

Not all ghost ramps were built for never-completed freeways – some were closed as part of road upgrades. The Police Road outbound on ramp to the Monash Freeway is one opened around 1994 to allow traffic from Waverley Park to access the freeway.

With the construction of the Eastlink – Monash Freeway interchange a short distance to the east, the ramp was closed in 2005 due to concerns about traffic weaving, being replaced by a new ramp a short distance away at Jacksons Road. Today only minor traces of the ramp remain along Police Road.

Monash Freeway at the Police Road interchange

Unsafe and redundant

A longer lived ghost ramp can be found at Church Street on the Monash Freeway. Originally opened in 1962 as part of the South Eastern Arterial from Punt Road to Burnley Street, two ramps were provided for eastbound at Church Street: the first for northbound traffic towards Richmond, and a second one that did a loop and directed traffic south towards Prahran.

With the construction of CityLink during the late 1990s, the tight curve for the loop was determined to be unsafe and the ramp being closed to traffic. After sitting idle for over a decade, Yarra Council has allocated $1.1 million in their 2013/14 budget to convert it into a park.

Monash Freeway at the Church Street interchange

Leading into the darkness

Safety concerns also led to the closure of a different ramp on CityLink, this time at Power Street. Opened with the Burnley Tunnel in 2000, the ramp allowed traffic from the Melbourne CBD to access the westbound tunnel, joining the main traffic lanes a short distance inside the tunnel.

Asking the average Melbourne motorist to merge while inside the tunnel must have been too much of an ask, as in 2009 the ramp was closed as part of the Monash-CityLink-West Gate upgrade project, replaced by a new ramp from City Road, that merged with the existing Kings Way ramp outside the tunnel. The unused ramp remains in place today, but fenced off.

West Gate Freeway at the Power Street interchange

Omitted as part of an upgrade

Another former off ramp that still exists is located at the merge between the Tullamarine and Calder Freeways in Airport West. Originally opened in 1972, the interchange permitted traffic movements in all directions with a ‘trumpet’ layout.

Constrained by the adjacent airport, as traffic on the freeway increased over the years, congestion at the merge led to the interchange being rebuilt in 2005-07, with the airport bound carriageways being relocated to the centre of the freeway, and the former south to west ramp was closed, as the movement had been replaced by the opening of Western Ring Road some years earlier. Today the bridge and pavement remain in place, disconnected at both ends.

Tullamarine Freeway at the Calder Freeway interchange

Catering to increasing traffic

Freeway upgrades are the reason for the abandonment of another freeway ramp, this time at the interchange of the Western Ring Road and the Tullamarine Freeway. Opened in stages between 1992 and 1997, the interchange permits traffic to proceed in a number of directions with a mix of flyover and cloverleaf ramps. The most hair raising ramp in the interchange carried southbound traffic from the Tullamarine Freeway to the westbound Ring Road, negotiating a 270 degree turn that was restricted to just 40 km/h, before an immediate merge with Western Ring Road traffic headed for Melbourne Airport and Melrose Drive.

The end result was much lane weaving and an increased risk of collisions, so this congested section of the roadway was replaced as part of the M80 Ring Road upgrade project, which constructed a flyover ramp over the top of the entire interchange, opening to traffic in early 2013. The pavement remains in place.

Western Ring Road at the Tullamarine Freeway interchange

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23 Responses to “Melbourne’s freeway ‘ghost ramps’”

  1. Julian Calaby says:

    Not a freeway one, but still a ghost ramp: Kings Way southbound where the ramp from City Road joins it after it passes through Crown Casino has a little sliver of road that looks like it was supposed to be a ramp to somewhere but isn’t.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      I believe the stub to nowhere is just an artifact of the road widening done for the additional ramps. IIRC both were just tacked onto the side of the bridge when the casino was built, to serve as the access to/from Whiteman Street and the multilevel carpark:

      https://maps.google.com.au/maps?ll=-37.826002,144.960496&spn=0.0019,0.004128&hnear=Kings+Way,+Victoria&gl=au&t=h&z=19

      Here is the road arrangement in 1966 – the Yarra Bank Road ramps were reused to access the car park, but there were never any ramps to/from the other direction:

      http://melwayed1.melway.com.au/043.jpg

      • Julian Calaby says:

        Sorry, by “City Road” I mean Whiteman Street. It’s _above_ City Road. Sigh.

      • Julian Calaby says:

        From what I recall of the underside of King’s Way there, it looks like the ramps were added after the main bridge was built. (but still in the same “era”)

        Your 1966 Melways map shows those ramps were still there back then. That said, it doesn’t show the loop under Kings Way just south of Whiteman Street which looks like it was added later – straight concrete columns instead of trapezoidal supports.

        I’m guessing that, given the ’66 map and the tapering on the western side, there was originally intended to be either an extra south bound lane on King’s way or a slip ramp onto Grant Street or something like that, however that never happened, and when the loop and eventual carpark ramps were added, it didn’t get removed.

    • Paul Jerome O'CONNOR says:

      Hi Julian, that King’s Way ramp shows up well on Google maps. when I get some spare time, I am going to go up there and take a closer look at it. I’ll post any pics I take naturally!!

  2. […] February 25 blog post on Melbourne’s freeway ‘ghost ramps’ also got a mention in the same […]

  3. Ivan H says:

    Another one is located on the Pakenham Bypass, just before Officer South road, not as clear inbound but is outbound with arrows signs included to prevent motorists from mistaken it for a operational off-ramp.

    Not sure the story behind that, I thought it was part of the long term route for traffic to enter Koo-Wee-Rup road as seen here:
    http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/RoadProjects/PlanningAndProposals/Regional/KooWe+RupRdPakenhamToKooWeeRup.htm

    But it’s on the wrong location, so I gather it most likely a future project for when the house estates continues west towards Officer South road which see a need for that road to be upgraded with access to the Freeway.

  4. scott says:

    I drive on the eastern freeway every day and didn’t know there was a ghost ramp on the Chandler Highway exit. I will check it out.

    China has ghost cities, we have ghost freeway ramps!

  5. Andrew S says:

    The Chandler Highway (E6) also includes an wide overpass over the Eastern (F19) with additional room to the left inbound for the east-to-north ramp to form the opposite directional ramp to the one you have discussed. It is worth noting older Melway directories, including my 1975 one show the west-to-south ramp you have there dashed in!

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Thanks for that. I’ve noticed the extra span on that side, but could never work out what ramp it was intended for – the Melway never showed it.

  6. Paul Jerome O'CONNOR says:

    Where the Hume Freeway merges with the Metropolitan Ring road there is a partially complete ramp that I assume was to take westbound traffic (on the Ring road)north onto the Hume Freeway. It is an interesting relic that I discovered while working as a courier. I’m glad to see that the disused bridge over the Calder freeway is included in the list!!

  7. Paul Jerome O'CONNOR says:

    Marcus, I found an interesting video on line at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo7K7a34Q_0.
    It focuses on the ghost ramps and stubs on freeways in Seattle, Washington. The video quality is very
    good and reinforces what I said earlier: that they have everything bigger and better over there including ghost ramps!!

  8. Paul Jerome O'CONNOR says:

    With reference to my last, the narrator isn’t Noel Coward so don’t expect too much!! But an interesting video nonetheless.

  9. Bobman says:

    Love the info here. Just as interesting as the rail trails etc.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to travel on all of the above before they were closed & the City Link – Church Street really was a tight one as well as the old Airport merge at Essendon Airport being a poor quality ramp.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      I’ve headed of the ramps at the Western Ring Road / Tullamarine Freeway interchange catching out many people – when returning from the airport I’ve heard of Geelong bound drivers taking the ‘early’ exit and ending up at Pascoe Vale Road!

      I’ve only got vague memories of the old Essendon Airport merge, and the entire freeway through that section was narrow and at the bottom of a cutting.

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