The Western Highway is part of the principal route linking the Australian cities of Melbourne and Adelaide with a length of approximately 314 kilometres. It is a part of the National Highway network and designated as National Highway A8. The eastern end continues on as the Western Freeway at Burrumbeet, and the western end continues beyond the Victorian border as Dukes Highway, the other sections of the Melbourne-Adelaide National Highway.
The Western Highway is the second busiest national highway in Australia, in terms of freight movements, with over five million tonnes annually. It provides the critical link between the eastern seaboard and South Australia and Western Australia. The towns along the way, including Ballarat, Ararat, Stawell and Horsham, are major agricultural and manufacturing centres.
The Western Highway begins at the Victorian-South Australian border, east of Bordertown. It is mainly a high quality single carriageway from there to Ballarat, with adequate numbers of overtaking lanes. However, the highway does pass through several agricultural centres, for example Horsham, slowing down traffic significantly.
Just north-west of Ballarat, the Western Highway becomes the Western Freeway , adopting freeway standards with two lanes running each way, and begins bypassing most of the towns the old alignment of the highway used to serve. Plans are underway for the end of this freeway to be extended from the current terminus at Burrumbeet westward to Ararat.