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City West Water

Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade

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

What work are we undertaking?

Historical image of Spencer st

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.

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 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


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Lonsdale Street and Spencer Street

flinders lane and bourke street maps

In November 2017 we built a launch shaft for the Tunnel Boring Machine to start its tunnelling under Spencer Street at the corner of Lonsdale 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.

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Access into Southern Cross Car Park

What to be aware of : southern cross carpark entry southern cross carpark entry

  • 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.
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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.

Works are currently completed at Flinders Lane, with remaining works underway expected to be completed by early 2019.
Works are expected to be completed in early 2019.
We anticipate completing the works in early 2019.

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

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