Chandler Highway, Alphington & Kew

The Victorian Government has committed funding of $110 million to widen Chandler Highway to six lanes and build a new bridge to the west of the existing bridge.

Project update - February 2017

The Victorian Government has awarded the contract for the project to Seymour Whyte Constructions.

Construction is expected to begin in May 2017, with the upgrade to be completed by mid-2018.

Project Background

Chandler Highway is a significant transport link that connects the northern growth area to Melbourne’s inner east and south. It currently has four traffic lanes, with two in each direction. These lanes reduce to two, with one in each direction, at the bridge over the Yarra River.

Carrying an average of 44,000 vehicles per day, Chandler Highway is operating above capacity, resulting in extended delays and congestion. The existing bridge is ageing and narrow.

Chandler Highway also provides the only Principal Bicycle Network crossing of the Yarra River between Studley Park Road and Burke Road in Kew.

As traffic volumes in the area have increased, the need to replace the two-lane former railway bridge and widen the approach roads has become more urgent. 

About the project

The Chandler Highway upgrade will include:

  • upgrading the intersection at Heidelberg Road
  • adding six lanes to the Chandler Highway
  • building a new bridge to the west of the existing Chandler Highway bridge
  • installing new traffic lights at the Yarra Boulevard intersection
  • improving cycling and pedestrian paths for a more direct and safer route to nearby trails
Once complete, the upgrade will improve traffic flow and create a more reliable and safer journey for the community.

Design plans

The below engineering plans are to scale and reflect the most up to date design for Chandler Highway. The design also includes feedback from the community, local community groups, agencies and councils. 

These drawings are subject to further refinements as the project progresses to the final design stage. 

Overview Map - Chandler Highway Eastern Fwy - Grange Road

View a larger version of the Chandler Highway - Eastern Freeway - Grange Road Map [JPG 5.18Mb]

Engineering map feature - Chandler Highway Eastern Fwy - Grange Road

View a larger version of the Chandler Highway Engineers feature - Eastern Freeway - Grange Road Map [JPG 2.68Mb]                                                                                         

Community involvement

We acknowledge that our proposed plan will have impacts on the local community. We've been working closely with you throughout each stage of the project to minimise these impacts and to get your feedback on the things that matter most to you. See our response to your feedback, along with a number of supporting documents below.

In October 2016 we invited you to have your say on the latest design plans, and we're currently reviewing your feedback which will be used to help refine our design.

We've also hosted a number of information sessions and held online discussions on a range of topics such as open spaces and public and active transport.

You can view the community discussion on engageVicRoads (External link).

We’ve noted your requests for a social impact study, which is required as part of an Environment Effects Statement on a major project. This project was not subject to an Environment Effects Statement or a formal social impact study. 

We acknowledge that the proposed plan will have impacts on the local and wider community, and we’re serious about understanding what matters to people. 

We understand that social impacts to you include: 
  • how close this project is to homes
  • visual impact for people living close to the project
  • noise and air quality
  • local access in and around the area and local traffic movement. 

You can see a summary of these issues in the VicRoads Chandler Highway Upgrade - Community feedback analysis and local community impact overview [PDF, 526KB].

We’re committed to reducing impacts and integrating your feedback, which is why we’re incorporating your feedback into our design.

For more detail about our responses to your feedback, please download the full Chandler Highway response [PDF, 2.9MB].

We’re aware that you want to better understand our plans to improve the surrounding road network in the context of the Chandler Highway Upgrade. 

This is why we’re planning to: 
  • undertake a formal consultation process for the implementation of clearways along Princess Street in Kew and Grange Road in Alphington / Fairfield 
  • upgrade the Heidelberg Road intersection as part of the Chandler Highway Upgrade
  • adjust the traffic lights at the Chandler Highway and Heidelberg Road intersection to provide a balanced amount of green time for drivers 
  • install a new set of traffic lights at the Chandler Highway and Yarra Boulevard intersection
  • keep you up-to-date about upcoming projects and proposed improvements to the surrounding road network.  

We’re also currently:

  • reviewing access arrangements to Rex Avenue and Coate Avenue to provide easier and safe access once the upgrade is complete 
  • considering the ‘knock on’ effect on traffic flows for a number of surrounding arterial and other roads in our designs (and we’ll keep you informed once plans are finalised)
  • looking at the Chandler Highway Upgrade in the context of the overall road network planning including transport, land use, efficient and safe movement of people, goods and services, and local residents.

A six-lane bridge will create more reliable journeys including:

  • less time waiting at traffic lights at the Heidelberg Road intersection 
  • a more reliable journey over the Chandler Highway Bridge, especially during peak times
  • less time waiting in traffic at the Eastern Freeway on and off ramps, resulting in steadier traffic flow heading to and from the city
  • more opportunities to improve public transport.  

At the time of opening, a four-lane bridge would already be at capacity during peak periods and allow for no additional growth without impacting travel times. We will ultimately need to build six lanes to keep traffic flowing efficiently on the highway. It should also be noted that the road land space required for four lanes and six lanes will be the same.

You can find out more about this in our :

Traffic modelling summary [PDF 735Kb]
Full Chandler Highway response [PDF 2.9Mb]
Traffic modelling report [PDF 1.7Mb]
Traffic modelling report 2 [PDF 1.2Mb]

In keeping with your feedback, we’ll cater for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians in the design of the project to give the community choices for getting where they need to go. 

We’re currently:
  • continuing discussions and working with Public Transport Victoria (PTV) to ensure more frequent bus services in the area and a dedicated bus lane
  • working with the Level Crossing Removal Authority to identify opportunities between the Grange Road  level crossing removal and this project to minimise the impact on the local community and road users. 

We plan to:

  • prioritise bus services in the new lanes
  • refine the design plans to include:
    • separated cycling lanes between pedestrians and cyclists travelling southbound
    • on-road facilities for cyclists travelling northbound on Chandler Highway
    • a safe east-west crossing for pedestrians. 
The preferred option will:
  • improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians with a shared-use path along Chandler Highway from Heidelberg Road to the Eastern Freeway. 
  • connect cyclists and pedestrians to the Main Yarra Trail and the Chandler Highway and Yarra Boulevard intersection 
  • provide an alternative to the 70 steps currently located along the Main Yarra Trail.
For more detail, please download the full Chandler Highway response [PDF, 3MB].

We understand that issues relating to noise, the environment and heritage are important to you.

This is why we're currently:

  • considering advice from a heritage assessment [PDF 2.5Mb] which recommends the current Chandler Highway bridge be nominated on the Victorian Heritage Register.

We have also:

  • commissioned an independent noise impact assessment (early 2015) to assess existing and future traffic noise levels for nearby properties and local residents. The report indicates that the current noise levels are high. Read a copy of the noise modelling report [PDF, 35Mb].  
  • assessed potential impacts of emissions to the nearby environment including increased traffic volumes
  • used an Air Quality Screening Tool (AQST) to assess the compliance of the project against the State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP) Air Quality Management (AQM) criteria, where the Chandler Highway Upgrade was found to be within the acceptable criteria for key air quality indicators
  • commissioned an independent flora and fauna study which noted a west option will have less impact to significant native trees
  • noted City of Yarra’s recommendation to demolish the 1954 Paper Mill boiler house; however, this doesn’t change our preferred option as heritage is one of many factors investigated. 
We plan to:
  • minimise noise impacts to the surrounding area as much as possible by providing noise mitigation treatments for nearby residents
  • improve current noise levels
  • ensure  any increases to airborne dust during construction will be carefully managed by our contractors 
  • review and audit the contractor’s performance on environmental management
  • continue to monitor any changes to air quality resulting from an upgraded highway 
  • respect the unique and diverse environment surrounding the Chandler Highway
  • avoid and\or minimise impacts to native and significant trees
  • strike a balance between delivering this project while protecting local flora and fauna. 
  • work with people who are directly affected to ensure we improve the look and feel of the area through the design.

You can find out more information in Environment FAQs  [PDF 857 Kb] or download the full Chandler Highway response [PDF, 3Mb].

We received a number of questions about what land needs to be acquired to the west or the east of the existing bridge.  

The preferred option on the west side of the existing bridge would:
  • need approximately 5,700 square metres of land to be acquired from the former Alphington Paper Mill site
  • need a parcel of crown land to be rezoned to road reserve
  • be completed within the allocated $110 million provided by the State Government
  • be completed by late 2018. (including a contract being awarded and construction starting in mid 2017).
The east side option would:
  • need approximately 10,100 square metres of land from the former Alphington Paper Mill site, 400 square metres from the Guide Dogs Victoria site and 2,000 square metres from Willsmere Chandler Park 
  • bring the total project cost to exceed $140 million (this doesn’t include compensation and legal fees, as the release of these costs may compromise future commercial negotiations)
  • result in a longer construction period, due to potential delays to secure additional funding and statutory planning requirements to secure the additional land and permits. 

Please note: the above figures have a number of exclusions. Please see the full Chandler Highway response [PDF 5MB] for details.

We have a range of responsibilities in several roles including:
  • acting as the referral agency for the development plan submission for the proposed Alphington Paper Mill development 
  • acting as the organisation responsible for delivering the Chandler Highway Upgrade.
In our role as the referral authority for the development plan submission, we have: 
  • reviewed the traffic impacts of the development plan 
  • been working with the City of Yarra and the developers of the proposed Alphington Paper Mill development.

We’ll continue to be responsible for liaising with the developers of the proposed Alphington Paper Mill site during planning and construction of both the Chandler Highway Upgrade and the proposed Alphington Paper Mill development. 

What happens next?

Works are expected to begin in May 2017.

We'll continue to speak and work closely with you at every opportunity, and will keep you up to date on the progress of the project as it happens.

We'll also provide advanced notification of any works that may cause disruptions or delays. 

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