Media Release: Street closure to enable next stage of CBD power upgrade

30 July, 2019

Electricity distributor CitiPower is preparing for the next stages of an extensive upgrade to Melbourne CBD’s electricity infrastructure, with Little Bourke Street in Melbourne’s Chinatown to temporarily close to allow the work to safely progress.

To complete the next stage safely, a section of Little Bourke Street between Russell Street and Waratah Place will be closed to vehicles from Monday 12 August through to Saturday 26 October 2019. All traffic through this area of Little Bourke Street will be diverted to Lonsdale Street, and Little Bourke Street will be accessible via Heffernan Lane.

Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout this period, with traffic controllers assisting the community to safely use the area.

CitiPower’s Head of Major Projects Marcus Olive said the closure was necessary to ensure crews could safely deliver a stronger electricity network for Melbourne’s CBD.

“We understand this road closure may be inconvenient, however at the end of the project this area of Chinatown will have new road and footpath surfaces including bluestone gutters, and the added attraction of the Waratah Place Zone Substation feature lighting,” Mr Olive said.

“The construction of this project is complex, while the busy and constrained location also makes it logistically challenging. We have been working closely with traders and the local community during the project to minimise the impact on them as much as possible.”

During the 11 week closure, CitiPower crews will be digging up to a four-metre-deep trench in Little Bourke Street, replacing and connecting 10.5 kilometres of cables that wind throughout the city. This complex construction involves working with gas, water and sewerage utilities to facilitate multiple asset relocations, and leads into the project’s final stages.

The work is part of the $250 million Melbourne CBD Security of Supply project, which is about ensuring that if unexpected events, such as extreme weather, fires, traffic accidents or infrastructure failures, occur on our major supply lines then the network has a ‘double backup’ to provide continuous supply to homes and businesses in the CBD.

The project included the demolition and reconstruction of Waratah Place Zone Substation, which will now be connected to the CBD grid. Once completed, it will allow power to be diverted around the grid so the duration of a major power outage is limited to no more than 30 minutes.

The Melbourne CBD Security of Supply project has also involved upgrades to the Brunswick Terminal Station, Bouverie – Queen Zone Substation and Victoria Market Zone Substation, and the installation of 21km of new electricity cables travelling over 7km from the Brunswick Terminal Station to Carlton.

The project is due to be completed in 2020.