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It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ on the esplanade

28 Jun 2011

It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ on the esplanade Image

The excavators and gigantic mechanised jack hammers were back in Harbour Esplanade last month as much of the pavement works were redone, having been rejected as sub-standard by VicUrban and the City of Melbourne.

The eastern-side pavement resembled a patch-work quilt as the contractor attempted to fix areas which became small lakes after rain and raise the height of services pits to prevent them behaving as storm water drains.

Outside the Customs House, the bluestone crossovers had to be relocated as they had been positioned to direct drivers exiting garages into oncoming traffic.

Trees are yet to be installed in front of the LifeLab building because of concerns raised “after the event” by water and electrical utilities about their proximity to underground services.  

This is despite planting pits being installed, irrigation being connected to them and the surrounding pavement completed.  Before the current works started, a row of mature gum trees were removed from this site.

VicUrban’s Docklands general manager Simon Wilson said: “Works to the affected (LifeLab) area are taking place with City West Water and CitiPower.  These works need to be completed prior to the installation of the remaining trees, which are expected to be installed by the end of August.”

VicUrban insists that the various Harbour Esplanade rectification works are minor and that stage one of the redevelopment has, for all intents and purposes, been completed.

Mr Wilson acknowledges that the installation of the fourth row of Norfolk Island pines on the western side of the road has several weeks to go.  But he said this aspect was actually brought forward from stage two because the project was so far ahead of schedule and came in under budget.

Mr Wilson said the separate cyclist and pedestrian footpaths on the harbour side of the esplanade will be completed. Signs and line markings, to ensure the separation is clear, will be installed in early July.

“As part of the redevelopment, cyclists are being provided with a dedicated lane next to the north bound carriageway, while the separate pedestrian footpath will remain in its existing place, closest to the water’s edge.”

Mr Wilson told the Docklands Co-ordination Committee on June 23 that it would be several months before VicUrban and the City of Melbourne would have anything meaningful to present to the public on future stages of Harbour Esplanade.

He said VicUrban and the council were working on a master plan and a supporting business case to deliver the plan.

All first-stage works are expected to be complete by August.

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