Harbour Esplanade redevelopment - Stage 1

VicUrban has confirmed that the first stage of works to transform Docklands’ Harbour Esplanade into a waterfront destination is expected to commence in May, 2010.

The Harbour Esplanade redevelopment will ultimately see this key area of public space transformed into a major waterfront destination, creating a unique harbour-front park for Melbourne and completing the city’s inner ring of parks. The new green spine will also better connect the precincts within Docklands.

The first stage of works, between Bourke St and Docklands Drive, will see the creation of a tree-lined boulevard, dedicated bike and pedestrian paths, and the realignment of tram tracks into the roadway to provide additional parkland and recreational space.

The redevelopment will be delivered in stages. Here’s an overview of what to expect throughout stage 1.

What does stage 1 involve?

During stage 1, a tree-lined boulevard will be created, separate bike and pedestrian paths constructed, and public transport conditions improved with the realignment of tram tracks.

The first works people are likely to see will be the removal of existing trees, enabling relocation of the tram tracks to follow.These trees will be later replaced with a boulevard of around 230 araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island pines).

The tram tracks will be located in the road reserve, similar to most tram tracks in Melbourne.

It is expected that these works will be complete in August, following which the trees will be planted.

Stage 1 will also see “super stops” built outside the Bendigo Bank, and Digital Harbour’s Life.lab building.  These stops will replace those currently outside the NAB building and Central Pier.

Stage 1 will take around 12 months to complete.

Impact on tram services:

Trams will continue to operate throughout the construction of stage 1 on the existing lines. They will then transfer to the realigned configuration.

The change over from the existing alignment to the new alignment will involve some disruption to tram services. VicUrban and Yarra Trams will work together to minimise the impact. Information on the impacts to tram services will be provided by Yarra Trams once the date of the switch-over is agreed.

Impact on traffic:

Traffic along the length of Harbour Esplanade will be maintained as far as practicable during stage 1 with the exception of a few days mid-year when the road between Bourke and LaTrobe streets will be closed to through traffic. Diversions will be in place at this time.

One through lane in each direction will operate throughout most of the construction period and, on completion, a parallel parking lane will also exist along the majority of Harbour Esplanade’s length in each direction.

Impact on cyclists:

The Capital City Trail, between Bourke St and Docklands Drive will also be realigned, creating a dedicated path that will run along the tree-lined boulevard, adjacent but separate to a footpath.

The existing on-road lanes will be removed, with all cyclists encouraged to use the dedicated path which links with the off-road paths north of Docklands Drive and south of Bourke St.  Cyclists will continue using the existing bike paths until stage 1 is complete.

Impact on pedestrians:

Stage 1 will free up waterfront space along Harbour Esplanade allowing for a separate pedestrian pathway. Upon completion, pedestrians will have access to seven designated areas for crossing.

What next? 

The latest concept plans for the planned recreational and parkland area are expected to be released for further public consultation mid-year.



May 4th, 2022 - Abby Crawford
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