Boulevard work starts

Boulevard work starts

Construction for the Southbank Boulevard development started last month and will continue for a full year.

It is currently in the first state of early works construction. Work is being undertaken primarily to prepare for the upcoming tram tracks construction that will start on September 22.

Currently, car access is restricted and bus routes are diverted between St Kilda Rd and Sturt St, but trams will continue to operate except for a nine-day period in September.

Construction is planned to end in August 2019. Detours via Grant St and Linlithgow Ave are in place until September, the end of the first stage of construction. Details of detour plans will be released at the start of next stages.

The Southbank Boulevard transformation has been in the works for some time now. It is a joint state government and City of Melbourne initiative and aims to transform Southbank Boulevard and Dodds St into “one of Australia’s most pedestrian-friendly places”.

The $40 million project will create 2.5 hectares of new public space and prioritise pedestrians, public transport and cyclists. There will be new parks as well as a new civic square. Tram infrastructure will also improve accessibility and will even incorporate greenery into the traditionally concrete rail beds.

The project is part of an ongoing urban design program transforming more of Melbourne into community spaces.

Following multiple phases of extensive community consultation, the concept plan was adopted by council last year reflecting feedback for more biodiversity and open spaces.

The plan is proposed to cater to current traffic volumes, which sits at around 13,000 vehicles a day, and support the increased residential population, forecasted to rise by 175 per cent over the next 15 years.

However, concerns persist about whether the reconfigured boulevard, as well as a decreased speed limit, will accommodate motor vehicle traffic.

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