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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 sewage 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

Early works

What we are doing

Before beginning major works we need to confirm where the existing water, gas and fibre optic services are located. This exploratory work will be conducted in and around the four work zone areas on the corners of Little Lonsdale St, Lonsdale St, Bourke St and Flinders Lane along Spencer St.

What you will see

There will be work teams removing sections of bitumen within the road to locate underground services. There will be large trucks on site and temporary barriers erected around these locations to keep pedestrians, cyclists, workers and traffic safe.

When are the works happening

The works will begin in August. They are expected to take up to one week to complete in each location. To minimise disruption to traffic some works will be completed at night.

What to be aware of

Traffic management will be in place during construction to maintain the flow of traffic and ensure the safety of work crews and pedestrians. There will be some noise and disruption associated with these works. We will work to minimise this as much as possible.

Northbound traffic on Spencer Street will remain unaffected during the works.

Signage and traffic management will be in place to allow safe vehicle and pedestrian movement through the area.

Early works - 30 August until 15 September 2017 (8pm - 6:30am)

Spencer St map shows sites1,2,3 and 4

Site 1 - Lt. Lonsdale Street begins Thursday 14 September

  • Southbound traffic along Spencer St will be closed
  • Southbound detours will be in place
  • Local traffic can still turn left into Little Lonsdale Street

Site 2 - Lonsdale Street begins Wednesday 13 September

  • Southbound traffic along Spencer St will be reduced to a single lane
  • No right hand turn into Southern Cross Station car park
  • Lonsdale St east and west bound will be limited by one lane closure in each direction at the intersection
  • Pedestrian crossing closed across the top of Lonsdale St. Foot traffic will be diverted to the other side of Spencer St

Site 3 - Bourke Street begins Monday 11 September

  • Southbound traffic along Spencer Street will be closed
  • Southbound detours will be in place
  • Bourke Street westbound traffic will be reduced to one lane. Right hand turn only into Spencer St

Site 4 - Flinders Lane begins Tuesday 12 September

  • Southbound traffic along Spencer St will be closed
  • All southbound traffic will be detoured left into Flinders Lane and right onto King Street and back onto Spencer St via Flinders St
  • Local traffic only westbound on Flinders Lane between King St and Spencer St
  • Pedestrians will be diverted to a temporary crossing on Flinders Lane
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Overall project timeline

Overall project timelines are as follows:

Spencer St worksites map shows sites1,2 and3

Spencer St intersections of Lt Lonsdale St, Lonsdale St, Bourke St & Flinders Lane (August 2017)

  • Early works locating services
  • One week per site. One site at a time. Day and night works.

Worksite 1: Lonsdale St intersection (October - December 2017)

  • Construction commences for launch shaft at Lonsdale St
  • Main access point for tunneling

Lonsdale St - Flinders Lane (January 2018)

  • Tunnel boring begins
  • Ongoing for 12 months

Worksite 2: Bourke St (June / July 2018)

  • Shaft construction & maintenance hole construction
  • Expecting one month for shaft construction

Worksite 3: Flinders Lane (September 2018)

  • Shaft construction & maintenance hole construction
  • Construction of shaft for removal of tunnel borer
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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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