Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade

We have an exciting new project starting in Melbourne's CBD.

What work are we undertaking?

The Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade will see the installation of a second sewer pipe along Spencer Street to complement the existing sewer main and build the capacity of the overall sewer network to meet the expected growth in Melbourne’s CBD into the future.

The new sewer main will be 700 metres long and run under Spencer Street between Little Lonsdale Street to Flinders Lane.

The current sewer in Spencer Street is over 100 years old and is nearly at capacity.

Why this upgrade needs to be completed?

Victoria in Future (2015) forecasts growth of approximately 60,000 new apartments in Melbourne’s CBD over the next 35 years. This includes approximately 14,000 apartments in the Spencer Street area.

To make sure we can continue to deliver a safe and reliable sewerage service to people living and working in the CBD, it is essential that we increase the capacity of the sewer network to support this growth.

On this page you will find

Where are we up to?

All south bound lanes on Spencer Street (at Bourke Street) were opened to traffic on Friday 30 November. Drivers can make a left hand turn from Bourke Street to Spencer Street.

Works at Flinders Lane have been completed and were a great success. The site returned to normal traffic conditions on October 12, on month earlier than planned.

Work on the Lonsdale Street is expected to be completed early 2019.

Boring Machine Status

Back to top

Lonsdale Street and Spencer Street

This site continues to be used to install a second sewer pipe towards Little Lonsdale Street.

Traffic conditions at Lonsdale Street

Currently two westbound lanes and two eastbound lanes on Lonsdale Street are closed to traffic, reducing the traffic to a single lane in both directions.

Traffic management is in place during the works to maintain traffic flow and ensure the safety of work crews, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Back to top

Access into Southern Cross Car Park

  • The intersection of Spencer Street and Lonsdale Street has been changed.
  • Two lanes westbound on Lonsdale Street have been removed from 7 November for approximately 6 weeks.
  • Entry to the car park is straight ahead from Lonsdale Street, or left hand turn from Spencer Street.


Crawling Under Spencer Street

View Transcript

Image on the screen: City West Water Spencer St Sewer Upgrade logo

Our growing city needs greater sewerage capacity

So we’re putting a second pipe under Spencer Street

We’ve now started tunnelling

From Lonsdale Street down to Flinders Lane

600m of pipe is being jacked into the tunnel

The tunnel boring machine is about 200m along

And will soon pass under Bourke Street

We’re on the job! Stay safe around our site this holiday season. Please follow pedestrian detours

Image on screen: City West Water Spencer St Sewer Upgrade and Quinn Civil logos

End of transcript.


Tilly's journey #underspencer

View Transcript

City West Water Spencer St Sewer Upgrade logo

After 10 week of boring #underspencer…

Tilly the tunnel borer finished major tunnelling on the Spencer Street sewer upgrade on May 26

She was ten metres deep and travelled 600 metres from Lonsdale Street to Flinders Lane

Flinders Lane

Removing 1000 cubic metres of dirt along the way

And making room for 201 pipes

Works on the Spencer Street upgrade are ongoing

Please obey the traffic management signage and pedestrian crossings

We’re on the job! Please stay safe around our site.

End of transcript.


Lonsdale st time lapse

View Transcript

Background music starts. Text on screen: City West Water logo - Spencer st sewer upgrade

Text on screen: November 2017 works begin

Text on screen: Our growing city needs greater sewerage capacity

Text on screen: So we are putting a second pipe under Spencer street

Text on screen: Main shaft excavations begin

Text on screen: Main shaft excavations: 1 metre

Text on screen: Main shaft excavations: 2 metres

Text on screen: Main shaft excavations: 3 metres

Text on screen: Main shaft excavations: 4 metres

Text on screen: Main shaft excavations: 5 metres

Text on screen: Main shaft excavations: 6 metres

Text on screen: We will return in the new year to continue digging to 12 metres

Text on screen: We are on the job! Stay safe around our site this holiday season. Please follow pedestrian detours.

Background music ends

End of transcript.

Traffic management

Why are you closing part of Spencer Street to traffic? Will customers be able to access their residence, workplace and/or carpark?

For the safety of pedestrians and workers, we will be closing sections of Spencer Street as works are undertaken. Access to residential and business properties as well as underground carparks will be maintained. On-site traffic coordinators will be on hand to assist. 

What about roads that intersect with Spencer Street?

Due to the closure of one southbound lane the traffic conditions will be altered, including at intersections that meet with Spencer Street. In some instances turning lanes will be modified or restricted.

Will trams still be running down Spencer Street during the works?

Yes, trams will continue to operate as usual during the works. No tram routes or tram stops are expected to be affected by the works.

Will traffic flows be impacted?

Yes, traffic flows will be impacted. There will be ample signage advising motorists and cyclists of the works before they start, as well as detour signage.

One lane southbound on Spencer Street will be closed to traffic. We will make every effort to provide advanced warning of road closures and detour routes.

In addition to traffic radio reports (on the Australian Traffic Network), regular traffic bulletins will be made available on this page, and via our Facebook page and twitter @citywestwater feeds.

What detours will be in place?

Traffic detours will be in place for the duration of the project. Signage will advise motorists of traffic detours. In addition, we will be making a traffic bulletin prior to and throughout the duration of the works.

Other frequently asked questions

How much is the project costing? Who is paying for it? Will this be added to my bill?

The project is costing approximately $24 million, which is part of our sewer program and not subject to additional funding requirements. There will not be an additional charge to customers for the works being undertaken in Spencer Street.

What work is City West Water undertaking?

We will be upgrading over 700 metres of sewer in Spencer Street. The works involve the installation of another sewer alongside the existing sewer main.

What will the works involve?

We will be duplicating the existing sewer to provide additional sewerage capacity. This will involve the installation of a 1.4 metre diameter pipeline by boring a tunnel 10- 11 meters underground. The tunnel boring method will minimise the above ground impacts and reduce the need to dig an open trench along Spencer Street.

When and where will works take place?

Works are currently completed at Flinders Lane, with remaining works underway expected to be completed by early 2019.

How long will the works take?

Works are expected to be completed in early 2019.

When will the works be finished?

We anticipate completing the works in early 2019.

Will water and sewer supply be affected?

We are not planning to interrupt the supply of water or sewer in Spencer Street or surrounding areas while works are taking place.

Stay up-to-date by following us on twitter @citywestwater or our Facebook page or share using #underspencer.

If you have any questions please send enquiries to spencerstreet@citywestwater.com.au.

Please tell us what you think.
If you require a response, please Contact us.