THE LONG-AWAITED works to upgrade Warrandyte Bridge finally commenced on January 15.
Major traffic disruption is expected over two full weekends in March when the Warrandyte Bridge will be completely closed to traffic on the Saturday and Sunday.
There may also be another full weekend closure in July.
Although VicRoads has not yet decided which two weekends in March are designated for the closures, they have confirmed that the bridge will remain open for the Festival weekend of March 17–18.
Whisper around the traps is that they may avoid the Labour Day long weekend of March 10–12, which leaves the possibility of March 3–4 and March 24–25, although the actual dates will be confirmed in February.
Residents planning trips during March weekends may need to reschedule their activities or plan for extra time as crossing the river during those two weekends will involve a 25km long diversion through Templestowe, Eltham and Research.
VicRoads has also confirmed that these bridge closures will be postponed if the Fire Danger Rating for Central District reaches Severe or above, or on days of Total Fire Ban.
CFA captains Trent Burris of North Warrandyte and Adrian Mullens of Warrandyte have advised the Diary that the emergency services have been fully consulted and they are both happy with the arrangements.
In the event of fire callouts during these closures, supporting brigades will be called from the same side of the river as the incident.
Now that it has officially started, the works which subcontractors VEC Civil Engineering Pty. Ltd. will be undertaking involve:
• Increasing the number of traffic lanes on the bridge from two to three, with two lanes southbound.
• New footpaths, including a shared user path for cyclists and pedestrians on the west side of the bridge.
• A wider intersection on the north side with traffic lights at the intersection of Research-Warrandyte Road and Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road.
• A new left-turn slip lane on Yarra Street eastbound for traffic turning left onto the bridge.
The worksite is at the Lions’ tennis courts on the southwest side of the bridge, and already some of the fencing has been demolished and contractors’ sheds and amenities installed.
Lions Club of Warrandyte president Jenni Dean told the Diary, “The tennis courts have not been well used recently and are a burden to maintain and run.
“We have been in discussions with Manningham Council and VicRoads and have agreed that the courts can be used as the worksite for the duration of the works, after which they will be turned into an outdoor fitness and recreation area.”
A spokesperson for Manningham Council’s Landscape and Leisure department, told the Diary that once the works were completed it was intended to completely demolish the worksite, tennis courts and fencing and turn the area into beautiful landscaped public open space with unrestricted access from the car park down to the Yarra.
Works undertaken on the weekend of January 20–21 saw the bridge taken down to one lane and an overnight power outage, works included:
• Removing light poles.
• Removing three trees on the south side.
• Removing sections of the road surface in preparation for a new surface
• Installing barriers and temporary yellow lane markings on the bridge, with restricted lane widths.
• Removing the pedestrian traffic island on the north side of the roundabout – much later a zebra crossing will be installed.
• Renewing the 22kV bundled electrical cable which spans the Yarra to the west of the bridge and relocating poles so as to be out of the way of the upcoming works.
Over the next few weeks, works will include installing scaffolding around the bridge and the temporary removal of the Queen of the Shire.
Until the work nears completion, there will be no access for pedestrians on the north side of Yarra Street to cross Kangaroo Ground road at the bridge roundabout.
Pedestrians will need to cross to the south side at the roundabout, walk past the bus stop, and cross back again on the other side, or use the river path under the bridge.