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City West Water

Media Release: Go with the flow in city centre

A lane currently closed to traffic along Spencer Street at Flinders Lane will reopen from Wednesday August 9 as part of the next stage of the $24 million Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade.

While the southbound lane will reopen, a further partial road closure will be in place on Spencer Street at the corner of Bourke Street.

Remaining traffic and pedestrian detours at Flinders Lane will continue until works are completed in late 2018.

The lane closure at the Bourke Street intersection will allow for the construction of a maintenance shaft into the new sewer as part of the upgrade; one of Melbourne’s most significant sewer infrastructure projects of the decade.

The closure of one southbound lane on Spencer Street will be in front of the Premier Tower site.

The changes will mean:

  • There will be no left turn from Bourke Street into Spencer Street.
  • The footpath between Bourke Street and Little Collins Street will be closed so there will be no pedestrian access.
  • Expect delays and seek alternative routes at Dudley Street onto King Street or Wurundjeri Way.
  • Drivers are encouraged to plan their journey to avoid delays
  • There will be no disruption to water or sewer services.
  • There will be no disruption to the tram network; and
  • Through traffic, access to residential and business properties, and car parks will be maintained.

City West Water Project Delivery Manager, Kate Houlden, said the project was vital to ensure Melbourne’s continued liveability.

“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.”

“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.”

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

Where we are up to:

  • The upgrade began in March with ‘Tilly’ the tunnel boring machine working its way along Spencer Street – starting at Londsdale Street – at approximately 10 metres underground
  • On average, it was running for 20 hours a day, seven days a week, laying 18 metres of new sewer each day.
  • Now the borer has finished its 700m journey and been removed, the works are continuing to connect the new sewer line to the existing sewer at the Flinders Lane site.

About the Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade

  • A 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 project will see the construction of 700 meters of new sewer mains along Spencer Street to ensure we can continue to deliver a safe and reliable sewerage service to people living and working in the CBD.
  • The original sewer network in Melbourne’s CBD is brick, and was laid by hand over 100 years ago. It’s in need of an upgrade, despite serving the city well.

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

Take a look at ‘Tilly the Tunnel Borer’ working on Spencer Street sewer upgrade: 

About City West Water

City West Water provides 100 billion litres of drinking water per annum to more than 430,000 properties across Wyndham, Melton, Brimbank, Hume, Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Yarra and Hobsons Bay council areas. We have an ongoing program of works to renew and upgrade water and sewer infrastructure.

As one of three Victorian Government owned retail water businesses in metropolitan Melbourne, City West Water manages over 4,785kms of water supply mains and 4,239kms of sewer supply mains.

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Media contact: Fiona Garlick 0466 613 109