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City West Water

Major Works to Begin on Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade to Support City's Growth

As part of City West Water’s program to ensure reliable essential services to Melbourne’s CBD, major works for the Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade are set to commence on 9 November 2017.

The Spencer St Sewer Upgrade is a vital part of City West Water’s commitment to catering for the growth of the world’s most liveable city. The upgrade is expected to be completed by late 2018.

Construction of a launch shaft at the intersection of Lonsdale St and Spencer St is expected to be completed by January 2018. The launch shaft will be the main access point for tunnel boring works that will follow in 2018.

About the Spencer St Sewer Upgrade

City West Water will be constructing over 700 metres of new sewer mains in Spencer Street in Melbourne’s CBD.

The original sewer network in Melbourne’s CBD is brick, and was laid by hand over 100 years ago. While it has served the city well, it is time for it to be upgraded. 

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. The proposed additional 14,000 apartments, when fully occupied, will discharge enough sewage annually to fill the MCG to a depth of 115 metres which is 1.5 times the height of the light towers.

Because of this, it is essential to increase the capacity of the sewer network to support this growth.

Installation of the 1.5 metre diameter sewer pipeline will be completed by a tunnel boring machine to minimise the above ground impacts and reduce the need to dig an open trench along Spencer Street.

The new sewer will be installed 11m below the ground – roughly the height of the sheds at the Queen Victoria Market. This means that the tunnelling itself will have very little, if any, impacts on residents, businesses and commuters.

To learn more about the Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade, visit

Changed traffic conditions

  • There will be changed traffic conditions for the duration of the project.
  • One lane southbound on Spencer Street will be removed at the Lonsdale Street intersection for the duration of the works. Three lanes will be closed in Lonsdale Street at the Spencer Street intersection for the duration of the works site. The closure of the southbound lane will delay travel times. Motorists are encouraged to detour at Dudley Street to alternative routes along King Street or Wurundjeri Way.
  • The right hand turn from Spencer Street into the Southern Cross carpark will be removed to ensure traffic flow in the southbound lane. This closure will remain in place for the duration of the project.

Local residents and businesses

City West Water has been working with local residents and businesses around the upcoming works.

All local businesses will remain open and trading throughout the duration of the works. There will be no disruption to access to peoples’ homes, businesses or workplaces.

Launch shaft construction works will be undertaken during daylight hours.  There will be noise associated with the excavation; however this will not exceed the EPA’s permissible sound limits.

There will be no interruption to water or sewer services for the duration of the project.

Interviews with General Manager of Infrastructure and Delivery, Maree Lang are available on request.  Please contact Media and Government Relations Team Leader, Fiona Garlick on 0466 613 109 to arrange a time.  Photos, including historic images, are also available.