Swan Street Bridge will be safer and more reliable with improved access to Melbourne’s sports and entertainment precinct as construction gets underway.

Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan was at Birrarung Marr on the Yarra River today to announce the start of the $30 million Swan Street Bridge upgrade.

Features of the new bridge include a new through traffic lane onto Olympic Boulevard, cantilevered four-metre wide shared paths on both side of the bridge, night feature lighting and a pedestrian crossing across Alexandra Avenue.

The upgrade will be undertaken in three stages beginning with the removal and re-building of the bridge’s existing beams and new shared paths on both sides of the bridge.

Each section of the existing bridge will be carefully removed and replaced piece-by-piece by a 150-tonne crane stationed on a barge on the river.

The final stage will re-open all lanes to traffic, switch on the feature lights and include additional landscaping.

There will be changed traffic conditions on the bridge until July with one city-bound lane and one footpath closed, along with short-term bridge closures at night.

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead, use alternate routes such as Alexandra Parade, Victoria Parade, Wellington Parade and Commercial Road or use public transport to travel to and from the Melbourne CBD and sporting precinct.

Signage with real-time traffic information will be available on routes around the bridge to help drivers to plan their journey while access to the bridge will be maintained for major sports and entertainment events.

The upgrade will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists and access to nearby parks, venues such as the MCG, Rod Laver Arena, AAMI Park, Hisense Arena and the CBD.

The bridge will retain its iconic arched shape, giving a ‘wave-like’ appearance with fins on either side to represent a rower’s oars cutting through water.

Works are expected to be complete by late 2017.

For up-to-date information during construction, use the VicRoads VicTraffic app, follow @VicTraffic on Twitter or visit vicroads.vic.gov.au

Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan

“Whether it’s on the way to a game at the MCG or AAMI Park, a concert at Rod Laver Arena or stopping to observe the spectacular Melbourne skyline, Swan Street Bridge is part of the fabric of our city.”

“We’re making Swan Street Bridge safer and more reliable for the thousands of people who rely on it every day.”

“We’re slashing travel times by five minutes and boosting safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, making it easier for people to access Melbourne’s sport and entertainment precinct.”