Who is responsible for different road types?
Before reporting a dangerous location you must find out what type of road it is. There are three main types of roads in Victoria – major, local and toll roads.
Urban roads which are generally green, black or red in the Melway, or in the country are classified as an M, A, B or C road. These roads are VicRoads' responsibility.
Generally orange or brown in the Melways, and are not classified as an M, A, B, or C road. These roads are Local Council responsibility. Local Government is also responsible for footpaths and nature strips on all roads.
The CityLink tollway is operated by CityLink and is its responsibility. The road authority for Eastlink is ConnectEast.
What is an M, A, B or C road?
All country highways are signed or labelled with an M, A, B or C number. This is known as the Statewide Route Numbering Scheme (SRNS). The letter is given to a road based on the function and quality of the route.
‘M’ roads provide the primary road links that sustain economic and regional development in Victoria. They connect Melbourne and other capital cities and link major centres of production and manufacturing with Victorian ports. ‘M’ roads should provide a consistently high standard of driving conditions with divided carriageways, four or more traffic lanes, sealed shoulders and with linemarking and guideposts that are easily visible in all weather conditions. For example the Hume Freeway is signed the M31.
A roads serve the same role as ‘M’ roads but carry less traffic and are usually two-lane two-way roads. ‘A’ roads provide a similar consistently high standard of driving conditions on a single carriageway. Shoulder sealing should be provided on all ‘A’ roads and overtaking lanes should be constructed on all strategic freight routes and roads with daily traffic volumes of more than 2,000 vehicles. For example parts of the Princes Highway are signed the A1.
B roads provide the primary link between major regions not served by ‘A’ roads and to significant tourist centres. ‘B’ roads should have sealed pavements wide enough for two traffic lanes, with good centreline and edge linemarking, shoulders and a high standard of guidepost delineation. Additional overtaking lanes should be provided on higher volume ‘B’ roads to improve road safety and capacity. For example the Murray Valley Highway is signed the B400 (as shown in the image above).
C roads provide the most important links between other centres of population, and between these centres and the primary transport network. ‘C’ roads will generally be two lane sealed roads with shoulders. The safety features will be determined on the basis of cost effectiveness, depending on traffic and terrain, accident records, load restrictions and frequency of flooding. For example Plenty Road is the C727.
- visit VicRoads for more information on the statewide route numbering scheme
Update: November 2012
New road numbering system – New South Wales
A similar road numbering system is being introduced in New South Wales to match the nationally recognised system already in place in Victoria. However, at this stage it doesn’t appear that NSW will adopt the 'c' roads classification.
Changes to road signs will start from early 2013 and will be updated progressively across the rest of NSW.
Some important routes will be given new names as motorways:
- The Sydney to Newcastle Freeway (commonly known as the ‘F3’) will become part of the M1 Pacific Motorway.
- The Pacific Highway between the Queensland border and north of Byron Bay will now be part of the M1 Pacific Motorway.
- The Southern Freeway and Mount Ousley Road from Waterfall to Albion Park Rail will become the M1 Princes Motorway.
- The M4 will become the M4 Western Motorway between Lapstone and Concord.
- The Hume Highway will be named the M31 Hume Motorway from the M5 at Prestons to Berrima, after which it will revert to the Hume Highway. The route will however retain the alpha numeric route marker M31.
- The Federal Highway will remain the Federal Highway, with the new route marker M23.
Visit the RMS website for more information on the new road numbering system in NSW.
If you are planning a trip to NSW, check for updated road maps in RACV shops, and obtain updated maps for your GPS units.