Adelaide has hook turns too!

When people think ‘hook turns‘ they immediately think of Melbourne and it’s trams – but Adelaide also has hook turns.

#1927 and #1902 perform a hook turn at King William Street and North Terrace

King William Street and North Terrace northbound

The first example is at the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace in the CBD, and is used by northbound Adelaide Metro route buses headed for the eastern suburbs.

'Right turn from left: Adelaide Metro buses only' sign northbound at King William Street and North Terrace

It’s also the key junction of Adelaide’s tram network.

Citadis #206 and Flexity #110 pass at North Terrace and King William Street

Tram tracks leading in all four directions.

'H' crossing at the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace

With trams able to turn in four of the eight possible directions.

Flexity #107 turns from King William Street into North Terrace

But this hook turn is also intended to right turning buses clear of road traffic – it actually pre-dated the reintroduction of trams to the intersection.

King William Street and Currie Street eastbound

An even less known hook turn is a few blocks further south, at the intersection of King William Street and Currie Street, and again only applies Adelaide Metro buses – this time turning right for the southern suburbs.


Google Street View

King William Street has both trams and buses running north-south along it.

Flexity 112 at Currie and King William Streets

While Grenfell Street and Currie Street form Adelaide’s main east-west bus corridor.

#1278 SB45BD on route G40M enters the O-Bahn tunnel at Grenfell Street

Leading to the O-Bahn guided busway.

#1117 on route M44 exits the O-Bahn tunnel at Grenfell Street

So the reason for the hook turn here doesn’t appear to be to separate trams and road vehicles, but to keep traffic moving along Currie Street – especially given the only turning movement for buses here appears to be empty movements out of the nearby Clarendon Street bus layover area.

'NO ENTRY' sign at the Clarendon Street bus layover area

Footnote – Adelaide’s ‘Grand Union’

The intersection of King William Street and North Terrace once used to be a full ‘Grand Union’ junction, allowing trams to turn in any direction – a situation that remained until the system was closed in 1958, leaving just the Glenelg tramway.

Trams returned to North Terrace in 2007, when a 1.2 kilometre extension of the Glenelg line north to Adelaide Railway Station. The intersection at King William Street then became a tramway junction once again in 2018, following the opening of a 900 metre extension east along North Terrace to the Botanic Garden, and a 350 metre extension north along King William Road to the Adelaide Festival Centre.

But one sticking point hit the news in October 2017 – the lack of a right-hand turn for trams from King William Street into North Terrace, thanks to the new junction layout only catering for four out of a possible eight turning movements.

The Liberal opposition seized on this, promising in March 2018 they would build it at a cost of $37 million, but then scrapped the whole idea in November that year, quoting an engineers report and stating constructions costs had escalated to $47 million, and that new trams costing $70 million would need to be purchased – so the interesection was left as it is today.


From Aurecon’s ‘King William & North Terrace Right Turn Feasibility Report’ for DPTI

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9 Responses to “Adelaide has hook turns too!”

  1. Chris Gordon says:

    Melbourne has hook turns for buses too, one such example is Hoddle Street southbound into Victoria Street for buses heading into the City. Done so the buses don’t have to weave across the traffic. It used to be part time, but is now full time.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      It’s been a while since I last went down to Hoddle Street – will have to make a special trip now.

      Transdev buses stuck in Hoddle Street traffic at the corner of Victoria Parade

      Recently a new bus-only hook turn was added at Exhibition and Lonsdale Street – part of the work that put a new separated bike lane along Exhibition Street.

      Transdev bus #757 1757AO out of service, completing a hook turn at the corner of Exhibition and Lonsdale Street

  2. Steve says:

    It makes a lot of sense if the infrastructure can support it to avoid buses having to weave across traffic to do right turns. May well mean in some cases that the bus stop can be closer to the intersection.

    There is a pseudo hook turn for buses in Footscray – near the intersection of Geelong Rd/Barkly St/Victoria St. Buses travelling east along Barkly can access a bus stop just after Geelong Rd (effectively at the end of the Geelong Rd service road reservation) and then turn into Victoria St with the change of lights. Often if the bus doesn’t need to stop at the bus stop, and traffic allows, it will just do a normal right turn from Barkly into Victoria. I’ve often wondered why that setup is there – basically means there’s bus stops on both sides of Geelong Rd for the 216, 220 & 410, although the 472 also uses it (after weaving across traffic to turn right from Geelong Rd!).

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