Eastern Distributor

Linking the Sydney CBD with Kingsford Smith Airport and Port Botany.

The Eastern Distributor is a 6 kilometre motorway link between the city and Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport and Port Botany.

Eastern Distributor website.

Project background

Roads and Maritime Services identified the need for a fast, efficient motorway to reduce through traffic in the inner city and reduce travel times between the city and Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport and Port Botany.

The Eastern Distributor was funded and built by Airport Motorway Limited which operates, maintains and repairs the motorway until 2048, when it is scheduled to revert to public ownership.

The Eastern Distributor project won two of the nation's highest awards for engineering excellence:

  • The prestigious Bradfield Award
  • The Sir William Hudson Award.


Road users benefit from:

  • Faster and more reliable travel to the airport
  • Quicker journey times between the Cahill Expressway at Woolloomooloo and Southern Cross Drive at Zetland
  • Full access to the CBD from Woolloomooloo with the reopening of Cathedral Street.

Public transport users benefit from:

  • Faster and more efficient bus travel on new dedicated bus lanes on Oxford and Flinders streets.

Local residents benefit from:

  • Reduced traffic on eastern Sydney streets
  • Lessened traffic noise and air pollution
  • Improved amenity on local streets due to traffic calming measures and landscaping
  • Improved local access with the conversion of former one way streets back to two way streets (for example Crown Street and Bourke Street).

Key features

Variable speed limits

To improve safety and traffic flow, variable speed limits are in place on the Eastern Distributor.

Speeds are matched to travel and driving conditions, particularly when there is an incident on the network. Variable speed limits are enforceable and must be obeyed.

The standard speed limit for the Eastern Distributor is 80km/h.

Variable speed limits may see the speed limit changed to 40km/h or 60 km/h for undetermined periods, dependent on traffic conditions.

Signs are placed regularly along the Eastern Distributor to ensure motorists are informed of the current speed limit.

Reminder: Speed cameras operator in the Eastern Distributor, and variable speed limits are enforceable. It is your responsibility to make sure you drive to the sign posted speed limit.

Travel time information

Travel time information is displayed on the Eastern Distributor, between the Sydney CBD and Southern Cross Drive. Estimated time to key exits and interchanges is displayed on electronic signs above the roadway.

Design features

  • 'The Parkway' - a landscaped sunken section of the motorway along South Dowling Street, Surry Hills
  • The creation of new public space in Taylor Square with the closure of Bourke Street
  • The Landbridge: close to one hectare of parkland has been created by construction of a shelter arching over the Cahill Expressway, uniting parts of the Domain
  • A substantial upgrade of Moore Park.

For more information on urban design, see the Centre for Urban Design.

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