Drivers on the Swan Street Bridge will have a faster and less congested journey from today, with the new fifth lane eastbound opening to traffic on the historic Yarra River crossing.
The additional lane will improve traffic flow and slash congestion, shaving up to five minutes off travel times for drivers travelling between City Road and Hoddle Street.
Queue lengths will be reduced along Alexandra Avenue thanks to the new lane, with eastbound traffic now using three lanes over the newly widened bridge.
The new lane will boost capacity over the bridge, giving Richmond-bound traffic its own dedicated lane and reducing frustrating and unsafe queue-jumping from the right turn lane.
Careful and complex work to repair, restore and upgrade the iconic bridge has involved 140,000 work hours, 2000 tonnes of reinforced concrete and 1,600 steel bars to strengthen and boost capacity on Swan Street Bridge.
More than 30,000 vehicles rely on the Swan Street Bridge each day, while hundreds of cyclists use its footpaths during peak hours. After major events in the sports precinct, up to 1,300 pedestrians cross the bridge every hour.
The new shared path on the northern side of the bridge has boosted safety for cyclists and pedestrians since it opened in December 2017, catering for crowds attending events at Melbourne’s sports and entertainment precinct.
Additional pedestrian capacity will be added when the southern shared user path is completed in mid-2018.
Some minor ongoing closures will be undertaken overnight until mid-year to complete the bridge upgrade, allowing crews to install lighting, underground sensors, safety barriers and signalling and undertake final asphalting works.
The Swan Street Bridge upgrade is due for completion in mid-2018, when cycling paths will also be reopened under the bridge and along the Yarra River.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan
“We know that this has been a frustrating process at times, but today we can deliver some relief to drivers that use the Swan Street Bridge - this fifth lane will slash five minutes off journeys between City Road and Hoddle Street.”
“This new lane on the Swan Street Bridge won’t just reduce queuing along Alexandra Avenue, it’ll reduce unsafe and frustrating queue jumping by drivers trying to merge quickly into different lanes.”
Quotes attributable to VicRoads Executive Director, Major Projects Andrew Williams
“The Swan Street Bridge is more than seventy years old and upgrading it has thrown up unique and complex challenges – we want to thank drivers for their patience during this extensive work.”
“Opening this fifth lane has been the priority for VicRoads and construction crews – and while we’ll be continuing work on-site until mid-year, we’re confident drivers will notice immediate benefits from this significant milestone.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020