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City West Water

Major traffic changes to Spencer Street

As the Spencer Street tunnel borer wraps up its 600m-long journey beneath the road, road closures will be in place for motorists heading southbound along Spencer Street between Collins and Flinders Streets.

The closure will allow for the excavation of a shaft down to 9 metre, retrieval of the tunnel borer and the connection of the new Spencer Street Sewer System to the existing line. The new sewer is being built to support the rapid population growth of Melbourne’s CBD, which will see 32,000 new residents by 2050.

The public are advised to avoid the area at all times to reduce traffic congestion, with one lane due to be re-opened in late August. Pedestrian movements will be detoured but maintained as per the current setup with a pedestrian crossing located immediately east of the Flinders Lane worksite.

The three-month closure will allow project works at the Flinders Lane site to be completed safely and as quickly as possible.

Remaining works to bring the new sewer system online will be completed by early 2019.

What works are being undertaken that require a 3-month road closure?

City West Water began works on the sewer renewal in November 2017, including creating the launch shaft for the tunnel borer at the intersection of Lonsdale and Spencer streets. In February 2018 the borer began tunnelling and has now moved almost 300 metres underneath Spencer Street.

The three-month closure of two southbound lanes of Spencer Street will allow for the retrieval of the tunnel borer and connection of the new Spencer Street Sewer to the existing sewer line near Flinders Lane.

At the retrieval shaft, the boring machine will have travelled just over 600m from the launch shaft at Lonsdale Street.

All pipe work has been installed at Lonsdale Street and pushed to its final location using a hydraulic jacking method at a depth of 8-12m beneath Spencer Street.

What to be aware of:

  • Local traffic only will be permitted south of Collins St. The left hand turn into Flinders Lane for these vehicles will remain open. Large vehicles will be detoured at Collins Street.
  • There will be no interruptions to tram services along Spencer Street
  • Hotel bus zones in Spencer Street and Flinders Lane will be relocated to Collins Street.
  • The Taxi zone in Flinders Lane will be relocated approximately 80m further east along Flinders Lane.
  • All footpaths will remain open. For pedestrian safety, the street crossing at Flinders Lane will be moved further along Flinders Lane.

The following quotations can be attributed to Kate Houlden, Project Delivery Manager City West Water.

  • “Population growth in the CBD will see 14,000 new apartments for the Spencer Street sewer to service, and it’s vital our sewers have the capacity to cater for that growth.”
  •  “The retrieval of the tunnel borer and connection to the existing sewer line are critical steps in the project timeline, bringing us closer to project completion.”
  • “The three-month closure will allow our crews to complete works at the Flinders Lane site in ‘one hit’ to reduce overall disruption to the CBD.”
  • “We understand that works of this scale are very disruptive, and we are working as fast as we can to get the job done to ensure our sewerage system can continue to support our growing city.”
  • “We would like to remind and encourage motorists to avoid the area to reduce traffic congestion.”
  • “We would also like to thank commuters for their patience as we undergo these most important works for the people who live in, work in and visit Melbourne’s CBD.”

For more information about the Project and the upcoming lane closures, please visit