Lonsdale Street Sewer Upgrade

The Lonsdale Street Sewer Upgrade is Stage 2 of a four-stage strategy to install a secondary 900-metre-long sewer line under Lonsdale Street. 

The current sewer network is approximately 120 years old and is nearing full capacity; this new sewer line will cater for the forecasted growth in Melbourne's CBD. 

Constructed via an underground tunnel boring machine, the project will link with the Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade (Stage 1) which was completed in December 2018. 

Project Update – December 2020

Have your say

Greater Western Water is seeking your feedback about the Lonsdale Street Sewer Upgrade project via a short online survey. Completing this survey will help us better understand the most effective ways to engage with our communities and stakeholders. All feedback is confidential and will be used to help inform Greater Western Water’s future work. To complete the survey, please follow the link below.

Your Say – Lonsdale Street Sewer Upgrade

Lonsdale Street sewer works complete

The Lonsdale Street Sewer Upgrade has achieved its final milestone with all works for the project now complete. After more than 18 months of planning and construction, the new 900-metre long sewer under Lonsdale Street between Elizabeth Street and Spencer Street is now connected to the wider network and fully operational.

We thank you for your understanding throughout construction of this vital piece of infrastructure. We understand a project of this size can impact you in different ways, but your cooperation has greatly assisted the successful completion of this project. With the current sewer network over 120 years old, this project will cater for Melbourne’s forecasted growth in Melbourne’s CBD.

The new sewer was excavated in two sections using a 6.3-metre long, 16-tonne Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) working at depths ranging between 10 and 23 metres. The TBM tunnelled 24 hours a day from March through to September, and encountered a variety of soft and hard ground conditions along the way.

Tunnel boring and pipe-jacking for the new sewer began in March 2020 from a launch shaft at the centre of Lonsdale Street near William Street. The first TBM drive to Elizabeth Street ended in May and the second drive to Spencer Street was completed in September. 299, 1.4-metre diameter pipes have been installed into the tunnel to build the new sewer.
To support tunnelling activity, a 23-metre deep launch shaft was excavated at William Street as well as two 10-metre deep retrieval shafts at Elizabeth Street and Spencer Street. Each of the three shafts have now been filled in, closed and replaced with manholes.

Each of the three work compounds at William Street, Elizabeth Street and Spencer Street have been removed from Lonsdale Street. Traffic conditions, including lane closures, median curbing, parking and signage, have been returned to their preconstruction state.

The Lonsdale Street sewer is now connected to the Spencer Street sewer, stage one of Greater Western Water’s $80 million capital improvement program to help secure wastewater services for a growing population of residents and workers in Melbourne’s CBD. With stages one and two now complete, planning for the third stage along Elizabeth Street has commenced.

Greater Western Water would like to thank its stakeholders and the community for their understanding and cooperation throughout the planning and construction of the Lonsdale Street Sewer Upgrade.

Project background

The Lonsdale Street Sewer Upgrade is Stage 2 of a four-stage program to install a secondary 900-metre long sewer line under Lonsdale Street. The new sewer will link with the Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade (Stage 2) which was completed in December 2018.

These works are essential as Melbourne CBD’s current sewer network is approximately 120 years old and is nearing full capacity. The new sewer will cater for forecasted population growth in the Melbourne CBD.

The new sewer line under Lonsdale Street will be constructed using an underground tunnel boring machine (TBM). In order to deploy and retrieve the TBM, launch and retrieval shafts will be excavated at three locations along Lonsdale Street. These are:

  • A launch shaft on Lonsdale Street between King Street and William Street
  • A retrieval shaft near the corner of Lonsdale Street and Elizabeth Street
  • A retrieval shaft at the intersection of Lonsdale Street and Spencer Street.

Construction finished in late 2020. 

Lonsdale map

Project Timeline


Contact the project team

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