Prohibited routes for dangerous goods transport

Information about the NSW roads where placard loads of dangerous goods are prohibited.

These restrictions reduce the risk of a dangerous goods incident occurring in an area where potential harm is difficult to manage.

You should always plan your route if it might be near a prohibited route. If you are using a GPS or smartphone for navigation, check before starting your journey to make sure that it won’t take you on a prohibited route.


  • The prohibited routes start at the last exit before the tunnel or bridge that is prohibited
  • Restricted vehicles must exit at or before the last exit

The prohibited routes under the dangerous goods legislation are the same as those under the NSW Road Rules.

Prohibited routes in the Sydney metropolitan area

All placard loads of dangerous goods are prohibited from all motorway tunnels in the Sydney metropolitan area. During peak periods, all placard loads are prohibited from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The prohibited routes around the Sydney CBD are

  • The Sydney Harbour Tunnel
  • The Domain Tunnel beneath the Royal Botanic Gardens
  • The tunnel between the Cahill Expressway and the Harbour Bridge (near the Sydney Observatory and Fort Street Public School)
  • The Eastern Distributor (between Zetland and the CBD, including all ramps)
  • The Cross City Tunnel
  • The William Street tunnel at Kings Cross
  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bradfield Highway during the following time
    • Monday to Saturday (inclusive), from 7:00 am to 9:30 am
    • Monday to Friday (inclusive), from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Prohibited routes in the south and west of the Sydney metropolitan area are

  • The M5 East tunnels
  • The Airport tunnel on General Holmes Drive
  • The M8 WestConnex tunnel
  • The M4 East WestConnex tunnel
  • The M4-M8 WestConnex tunnel connecting the M4 East and M8 Motorways
  • The Rozelle interchange and all tunnels connecting to it

Prohibited routes in the north of the Sydney metropolitan area are

  • the Lane Cove Tunnel
  • the M2 tunnel at Beecroft
  • NorthConnex

Prohibited routes on the North Coast of NSW

Placard loads of Class 1 (explosives), division 2.1 (flammable gases), or mixed class loads of dangerous goods are restricted from two tunnels on the Pacific Highway on the NSW north coast.

These tunnels are

  • The Tugun Tunnel (beneath the Gold Coast Airport)
  • The St Helena Tunnel (in the Byron Bay hinterland)

A mixed class load of dangerous goods is one that requires the use of more than one placard, or the mixed class dangerous goods diamond (model 10 in Chapter 5.2 of the ADG Code).

Information for prime contractors

You have a duty to ensure the safe transport of dangerous goods, and to ensure that you train, instruct and supervise your drivers. This helps ensure they carry out their tasks safely and lawfully.

You must ensure that your drivers are aware of prohibited routes for dangerous goods. You should also ensure that you have processes for checking that drivers are not using prohibited routes.

Some GPS and vehicle tracking systems allow geofencing of prohibited routes. You should check to see if this is possible and enabled. This significantly reduces the risk of a driver using a prohibited route.

You should also ensure that drivers are familiar with the procedure described below if they find themselves on a prohibited route by mistake.

Information for drivers on approach to a tunnel by mistake

All dangerous goods prime contractors should ensure their drivers are aware of this procedure. If you continue along the prohibited route you may be fined or prosecuted.

If you are driving a vehicle that is transporting a placard load of dangerous goods and you have passed the last exit

  1. Pull over and STOP as soon as it is safe. DO NOT proceed further along the prohibited route.
  2. Switch on your hazard lights.
  3. Immediately call the Transport Management Centre on 131 700 and report your situation and position
  4. Follow any instructions provided
  5. Report the incident to your manager, allocator or similar.

If you are a prime contractor and you determine one of your drivers has used a prohibited route, you should immediately commence an investigation into the circumstances and report the incident to the EPA as soon as practicable.

Call 131 555 or email to report the incident.

If you have transported explosives on a prohibited route (class 1), you must notify SafeWork on 13 10 50.

Why are dangerous goods prohibited from transport on some routes?

Dangerous goods can be transported safely, but controls are needed to ensure this. In an incident dangerous goods significantly increase potential harm to emergency services, the driver of the vehicle and other road users.

A dangerous goods incident that occurs in a tunnel or with limited access is difficult for emergency services to combat. The smoke, fire and fumes that dangerous goods generate mean an incident that is manageable on a surface road is much more difficult to deal with on a prohibited route.

Dangerous goods drivers and their companies are expected to know these prohibited routes and ensure that they do not enter them. There are fines for entering these areas, and drivers and prime contractors can be prosecuted.

In addition to goods regulated under the dangerous goods transport legislation, these restrictions apply to class 1 (explosives) and class 7 (radioactive material). This includes radioactive substances except for short half-life radioisotopes for medical use.

Transport of explosives is subject to extended prohibited areas described in the Explosives Regulation 2013. Contact SafeWork NSW for more information about explosives.