A side of Flinders street will soon be closed to traffic for at least three years as construction of underground connection from Flinders Street Station to the new Town Hall Station commences.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, announced the extended closure, which will enable major works to start building the new interchange under Flinders Street, between Swanston and Degraves streets.
From 2 September, both eastbound lanes on Flinders Street will be closed between Elizabeth and Swanston streets.
While this will inevitably cause significant disruption, several steps are being taken to reduce the impact on people travelling through the city.
Trams will continue to run in both directions throughout, except for six days – from 2-7 October – when major construction will be carried out close to the tram network.
The footpath will remain open along Flinders Street past Degraves Street and to the Station construction site. A new pedestrian crossing will also be established to the west of Degraves Street to enable pedestrians to cross to the south side of Flinders Street and maintain access to the tram stop.
Pedestrian and vehicle access will be maintained for local businesses and residents, and loading bays will be available east of Elizabeth Street for deliveries and drop-offs. The full footpath on Flinders Street is expected to re-open to pedestrians in late 2020.
The road network will be monitored in real time to respond quickly to any incidents or congestion and traffic lights will be modified to increase capacity at key intersections. Variable Message Signs will also be positioned at strategic locations to provide information on alternative routes.
The eastbound closure of Flinders Street will halve the number of truck movements on Swanston Street during peak construction, reducing it to around 100 trucks each day at peak construction in late 2020 – boosting safety for pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists.
The Metro Tunnel Project will create capacity for more than half a million additional passengers a week across Melbourne’s train network during peak periods.
Minister Allan, said, “This is a significant closure, but we need to do it – it’s the only way to build this vital underground connection between Flinders Street and the Metro Tunnel station.
“We know how disruptive this major construction will be so we’re doing everything we can to minimise disruptions and impacts on local residents, businesses and people visiting the city.
“This is the biggest public transport project ever built in Victoria and it will benefit Victorians every single day – and we’re getting on with it.”