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Project program

Contract award to Abigroup 8 July 2005
Site establishment August 2005
Start of local roadworks and railworks November 2005
Start of rail bridge works November 2005
Start of road bridge works December 2005
Stage 2 completion (roadworks) Early/mid 2008
Stage 3 overall completion Early/mid 2008

Construction update - current and future work

Changes to traffic conditions Victoria Road, Nelson Street, Semaphore Road and Elder Road, Birkenhead

As part of the Port River Expressway Stages 2 and 3, the road and rail bridges across the Port River, roadworks are currently being undertaken on Victoria Road and Nelson Street to connect the expressway into the existing road network on the western side of the Port River.

The work will result in significant changes to the current road alignments in this area, including:

  • the realignment of Victoria Road to connect to the Port River Expressway (see diagram point 1)
  • construction of the new junction of Nelson Street with the expressway (see diagram point 2)
  • the extension of Nelson Street to meet the new alignment of Victoria Road (see diagram point 3)
  • the repositioning of the intersection at Nelson Street, Semaphore and Elder Roads (see diagram point 4)
  • the closing of a section of Victoria Road to through traffic (see diagram point 5). The section of the expressway east of the intersection with Nelson Street will be closed until the bridges across the Port River are open. 


From Thursday 29 November 2007 to Saturday 15 December 2007 southbound traffic on Victoria Road will be directed through the newly constructed intersection of the Port River Expressway and Nelson Street (map reference 2).

During this work:

  • Southbound traffic travelling through the new intersection will be able to turn right into Semaphore Road or continue onto the Birkenhead Bridge. The newly built Port River Expressway east of the intersection will remain closed to traffic until the new road bridge is commissioned in April 2008.
  • Northbound traffic will continue to use the existing alignment of Victoria Road.
  • Northbound traffic will be able to turn left from Nelson Street into Semaphore Road and left from Semaphore Road into Victoria Road during these works.
  • The right turn from Semaphore Road into Nelson Street will not be permitted during these works.
  • The current ban on right turns from Martin and Baker Streets into Victoria Road will remain in place. Motorists may also experience delays turning right into Victoria Road from Heath Street.
    • Elder Road will be temporarily closed to traffic during this time.
    • Access to the Birkenhead Tavern, PIRSA (Fisheries), Svitzer (tugs), and Wilson Street will be via the PIRSA access road off Nelson Street.
    • Traffic wishing to enter the access road from Semaphore Road will be required to turn left onto Victoria Road and enter via the designated u-turn at Heath Street with a left turn off Nelson Street into the access road.
    • All other entry/exit requirements for Birkenhead Tavern patrons will be assisted with detailed signage.

All detours will be clearly marked and advanced warning signs will be in place to advise motorists of the changed traffic conditions.

Motorists are advised to expect delays with speed limitations of 25kph in place between 7.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday and between 7:00am and 2:30pm Saturday. A 40kph speed limit will apply at all other times.

Construction overview - completed work

Francis Street temporary closure - December 2006

A vital component of Stages 2 and 3 of the Port River Expressway project work was the reconstruction of Francis Street and the construction of the link between Francis Street and Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway. Work to complete this link was undertaken from Monday 16 October  to mid December 2006.

Phase one required the closure of Francis Street from Evans Street to the intersection of Perkins Drive (formerly the Eastern Bypass and Grand Trunkway Extension). The closure enabled the construction of a new intersection at the point where Francis Street meets Perkins Drive.

Detours were in place during this time via Eastern Parade and Ocean Steamers Road. The new Eastern Parade and Grand Trunkway intersection was opened to traffic on 6 November and made fully operational later in this period. For further information about phase one, please download the following document.

Francis Street temporary closure - Phase one details

Phase two of the reconstruction of Francis Street, took place in the last week of November until mid December 2006.  Motorists detoured via Eastern Parade and the newly constructed Perkins Drive, accessing the Port Centre via St Vincent Street East.

Ocean Steamers Road between Docks 1 and 2 was permanently closed to allow for the road and rail approaches on the eastern side of the Port River. For further information about phase two, please download the following document.

Francis Street temporary closure - Phase two details

Changed speed limits applied throughout the duration of the Francis Street reconstruction works with a 40 km/h exit speed in place from the Port River Expressway at Eastern Parade.

Access to commercial sites Symons and Clark and Incitec Pivot was provided via Perkins Drive. Local access for businesses located on Francis Street from Evans Street to Ocean Steamers Parade was maintained. Access to Dock 2 was also maintained.

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Perkins Drive

The new stretch of road between Eastern Parade and Bedford Street, which was previously known as the Grand Trunkway Extension and the Eastern Bypass, has been renamed Perkins Drive in honour of Charles Nelson Perkins (1936 - 2000).

Dr Perkins was born in Alice Springs on 16 June 1936 and lived in the Glanville area during his early teenage years and was educated at the LeFevre Boys Technical High School. He then moved on to the Metropolitan Business College in Sydney and later the University of Sydney where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1965 as the first Aboriginal to graduate from tertiary education.

In 1981 Dr Perkins became the first Aboriginal to head up a federal government department as the Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Dr Perkins was awarded the Jaycees Young Man of the Year in 1966, Aboriginal of the Year in 1993 and the Order of Australia in 1987. The National Trust declared him a "living treasure" in 1997.

He had the world's longest recorded survival for a kidney transplant, having received a donor kidney in 1972 but died of renal failure at the age of 64 on 19 October 2000.

The above information was provided by the City of Port Adelaide Enfield.

Perkins Drive was open to traffic between Eastern Parade and St Vincent Street East in early December 2006. The section of Perkins Drive between St Vincent Street East and Bedford Street will continue to be open to south bound traffic only.

A new signalised intersection at Perkins Drive and Francis Street has been constructed and was opened to traffic in mid December 2006.  Perkins Drive will become the main route and exit/entry point between the expressway and the Port Adelaide Centre via St Vincent St East following the completion of the Port River Expressway project.

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Elder Road closure

To allow for the construction of the Port River Expressway road bridge approach, the section of Elder Road between Stirling Street and Walker Street, Birkenhead was permanently closed to traffic on Wednesday 14 June 2006. The closure has also allowed the temporary realignment of the rail track along Elder Road, which enabled the construction of the rail bridge approach structures to begin. Access to private properties and to the boat ramp on the Port River is available via Elder Road south of Walker Street.

Works to upgrade other local roads associated with Stages 2 and 3 of the Port River Expressway project include:

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Ocean Steamers Road

Following the opening of Perkins Drive in early December 2006, the section of Ocean Steamers Road between Docks 1 and 2 was permanently closed to allow for the eastern road and rail bridge approaches.

Traffic which previously entered/exited Port Adelaide on Ocean Steamers Road now uses Eastern Parade, Perkins Drive and St Vincent Street East. Access to Docks 1 and 2 has been maintained.

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Eastern Parade, Grand Trunkway, Perkins Drive intersection

To improve safety for both motorists and rail operators, the intersection of Eastern Parade, Grand Trunkway and Perkins Drive has been realigned. These works incorporated a railway level crossing located in the middle of the new intersection. As a further safety measure, traffic signals, rail crossing signals and boom gates were installed. The intersection was opened to traffic on 6 November 2006.

The extension of the rail track parallel to the Grand Trunkway and new signalling will improve rail movements from Dry Creek into Port Flat Yard by reducing the occurrence of trains blocking Eastern Parade, Francis Street and Bedford Street.

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Bridge works

During March 2007, a 600 tonne crawler crane was mounted on a barge and floated to the bridge construction site to place the steel box girders, the counterweight and the decking for the opening sections of the road and rail bridges. The crane was rigged to provide the required lifting capacity of 225 tonne with a 30 metre radius, and will be one of the largest water-based cranes in Australia. 

The installation of the trunnion tower for the rail bridge commenced in mid March 2007.

  • Rail bridge

The 600 tonne bascule leaf (opening section) for the rail bridge consists of two welded steel box girders that form the horizontal supports for the deck. The girders were lifted into place in early July 2007 using the 600 tonne barge-mounted crane. The counterweight was attached to the end of the girders soon after and then an iterative process of balancing the counterweight commenced. 

Prefabricated sections of the rail deck were then lifted into place and bolted onto the girders. Once the deck is complete, and the rail installed, the rail bridge and the signalling systems will be commissioned prior to the first trains running in early 2008.

  • Road bridge

In October 2007, the trunnion tower for the road bridge will be installed. The girders are due for delivery and installation in late October / early November  2007 and work will then continue to complete the bridge deck.

In mid March 2007 a 1000m3 concrete pour, taking approximately 24 hours to complete, was undertaken to construct the bascule pile cap (the support structure for the opening section of the bridge).

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