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City West Water

Spencer St Sewer Upgrade

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

What work are we undertaking?

Historical image of Spencer st

We will be constructing over 700 meters of new sewer mains along Spencer Street in Melbourne’s CBD – between Little Lonsdale Street and Flinders Lane.

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

The Spencer Street Sewer project will upgrade over 700 meters of this essential infrastructure to ensure we meet the growing needs of the community and the expected growth in Melbourne’s CBD into the future.

spencer st as it looks today

Why this upgrade needs to be completed?

Victoria in Future (2015) forecasts growth of approximately 60,000 new apartments in the CBD over the next 35 years, which 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 to increase the capacity of the sewer network to support this growth.

This is being done through the installation of a second sewer pipe along Spencer Street.

On this page you will find

Where are we up to?

On Saturday 26 May at 9am the tunnel boring machine (TBM) broke through into the Flinders Lane retrieval site.

The TBM has been working its way along Spencer Street, starting at Lonsdale Street, at approximately 10 meters underground since March. On average it was running for 20 hours a day, seven days a week and laying 18 meters of new sewer each day.

Now the borer has finished and been removed the works are continuing to connect the new sewer line to the existing sewer at the Flinders Lane site. Once this is complete one lane will reopen to southbound traffic.

Boring machine


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Lonsdale Street Site

Upcoming night work - The works will be occurring on Wednesday 20 June and Thursday 21 June from 6pm each night until 6am the following morning.

Since 9 November 2017 - Spencer Street at the Lonsdale Street intersection has been the launch site for the tunnel boring machine and its associated equipment.

Now the tunnel boring is complete all boring equipment will be removed from the site. This will include night works to crane out the larger equipment. Notification will be provided to local residents and businesses in the lead up to these works.

Changed traffic conditions

One westbound lane on Lonsdale St will be closed reducing the traffic to a single lane.

What to be aware of

Traffic management will be in place during the works to maintain the flow of traffic and ensure the safety of work crews, motorists and pedestrians. We will work to minimise any noise disruptions.

Following the removal of boring equipment works will continue at the site to bore a smaller tunnel up to Little Lonsdale Street. Current traffic conditions will remain in place until the project is complete in late 2018.

  • One southbound lane will be closed on Spencer Street
  • Three lanes at the Lonsdale Street intersection will be removed for the work site
  • No right hand turn into the Southern Cross car park
  • Pedestrian crossing closed across Lonsdale Street at Spencer Street
  • No left hand turn into Lonsdale Street for large vehicles

For more information follow us #underspencer

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Access into Southern Cross Carpark

What to be aware of:

  • The intersection of Spencer St and Lonsdale St has been
  • One lane southbound on Spencer St has been removed
  • There is NO right hand turn into the Southern Cross carpark
  • Entry to the carpark is straight ahead from Lonsdale St, or left
    hand turn from Spencer St

Northbound traffic on Spencer Street will not be affected during the works.

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Flinders Lane

The Flinders Lane site was set up for Stage 1 closures in February 2018.

Since May 2018 the site has been at Stage 2 closures with both south bound lanes closed.

Once the tunnel boring machine has been removed, and the new sewer connection completed by late August the site will then return to Stage 1 closures until all works at this site are completed by early 2019.

Night works will be kept to a minimum, and if required, notification will be provided.

What to be aware of during Stage 2

  • Both southbound lanes on Spencer St will be closed.
  • Only local traffic will be permitted south of Collins St
  • The left turn into Flinders Lane will remain open to cars and service vehicles less than 8 metres in length
  • The hotel bus zones in Flinders Lane and Spencer St have been relocated to Collins Street, west of Spencer St (see information below)

What to be aware of at all times

  • Access to car parks and delivery bays will remain open at all times (see below alternative routes for more information)
  • Large vehicles will need to avoid the area and detour at Collins Street
  • Large vehicles can access Flinders Lane via King Street and exit at Downie Street
  • The taxi zone in Flinders Lane will be relocated approximately 80m further east along Flinders Lane
  • There will be no changes or interruptions to tram services along Spencer Street
  • All footpaths will remain open. For pedestrian safety the street crossing will be moved further along Flinders Lane. Please follow the detour directions
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Bourke Street site

In August a site will be set up at the corner of Bourke St and Spencer St (in front of the Premier Tower site) for the construction of a maintenance shaft into the new sewer.

One southbound lane will be closed and traffic conditions will change. These works are expected to be complete by late November.

Further details will be provided once works are confirmed.

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Changes to Local Bus Zones

1 May until late August - Flinders Lane, Spencer Street and Collins Street

What we are doing

local bus zones
  • All Spencer Street southbound traffic lanes will be closed at Flinders Lane from 1 May 2018.
  • All traffic will be detoured at Collins Street onto King Street. Local traffic only will be accepted between Collins Street and Flinders Lane on Spencer Street.

Bus zone changes

  • From 1 May 2018 all bus zones in Spencer Street, south of Collins Street and including Flinders Lane will be removed and relocated.
  • These bus zones will be relocated to the westbound lane of Collins Street, on the western side of Spencer Street.

Throughout the duration of the works

  • At no time during works can buses, coaches or towing vehicles turn left into Flinders Lane from Spencer Street.
  • The left hand turn into Flinders Lane can only be made by cars and smaller delivery vehicles.
  • The bus stopping zone in Flinders Lane will be removed during these works
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Alternative routes

Seeking alternative routes to exit Flinders Lane

  • Follow Flinders Lane east bound for alternative route for Westgate Freeway access.
  • Use Downie Street and turn left from Flinders St onto King St north bound.
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Crawling Under Spencer Street

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Tilly's journey #underspencer

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Lonsdale st time lapse

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Traffic management

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

The sewer was constructed well over 100 years ago and is nearly at capacity. These works will upgrade this essential infrastructure to ensure we meet community needs now, and for the significant expected growth in the future.

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.

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.

Minor works will begin in August, with major works scheduled to begin in October 2017. The works will take place on Spencer Street from Little Lonsdale Street to Flinders Lanes (refer to map).

Works are expected to take 12 months to complete. To minimise disruption to traffic, residents, and those working and visiting in the area, the majority of the works will be done underground to minimise surface disruption. Some surface works will still be required. Work sites and traffic alterations will be established along the length of the works and remain in place for the duration of the project.

This sewer duplication project will take approximately 12 months to complete. We anticipate completing the works towards the end of 2018.

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

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