Minister urges delay on Elizabeth Street traffic closures

The two new CBD underground stations — at the Town Hall and State Library — are part of the $11 billion Metro Tunnel project, which is due to be completed by 2025.

There will be ongoing traffic disruptions at and around the intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets — some for extended periods — and ongoing impacts on traffic lanes on La Trobe Street at the other end of Swanston Street.

“We are delivering Victoria’s biggest public transport project to unlock the City Loop and bring more people into the city on public transport,” Ms Allan said.

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan.

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan.Credit:Eddie Jim

“The delivery of this project will cause quite a bit of disruption in the city over the next few years. We need to ensure any changes being considered by the City of Melbourne takes that construction into consideration. We would be encouraging them to continue to work with us.”

The council plans to start early next year on a $2.1 million redevelopment of the southern end of Elizabeth Street, which former lord mayor Robert Doyle once branded a “crime hotspot” and “ugly duckling”.

This will see southbound traffic removed between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane and the area converted into a new public space with trees, bluestone paving, lighting and street furniture.

The council says delivery of the further stages will be subject to both funding and coordination with other major projects in the area.

“If endorsed, the project works will be phased over the next six years, as we work closely with key stakeholders and the Victorian government to coordinate and communicate changes to the city while delivering world-class places for people,” acting lord mayor Arron Wood said in a press release.

Elizabeth Street

Elizabeth StreetCredit:Eddie Jim

Premier Daniel Andrews last week said the government had “no plans to be making those sorts of changes” to Elizabeth Street.

“We don’t begrudge the City of Melbourne their right to have a view,” Mr Andrews said.

“But at the same time we do have to be very, very careful at a time of unprecedented disruption because of the building we’re doing, that we don’t make that even harder by closing off further roads.”

The Age understands the state government is unhappy about a lack of consultation over both the council’s proposal for Elizabeth Street and its draft transport strategy.


The draft transport strategy proposes a trial of 30km/h in areas of the central city and closing the “Little” streets (Little Collins, Little Bourke, Little Lonsdale, Little La Trobe) to cars at different times of the day. It also calls for a review of the road rules to allow cyclists to turn left at a red light.

Earlier this month, Ms Allan said the government wouldn’t support a blanket 30km/h limit on the streets of the City of Melbourne.

“Our position hasn’t changed on 30km/h.” she told The Age. “It goes to that point about trying to think about how decisions in one part of the city can impact on the whole of the transport network more broadly.»

Ms Allan said the state government had also publicly indicated that based on advice from safety experts it did not support cyclists turning left at a red light.

The state government last year announced it would appoint a city controller to work with the council to better coordinate future state and local government construction programs.

Jewel Topsfield is Melbourne Editor of The Age.

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