Victoria Minister for Water Peter Walsh
150 Years Of Service By William Street Water Mains
Victor P Taffa
Nearly 4 km of historic water pipes along William Street are being replaced after more than 150 years of service.
Water Minister Peter Walsh today visited the site to mark the initial stage of the $20 Million project which will replace water pipes that date back to 1857 and are some of the first water mains laid beneath the city.
“The William Street project represents an important investment in Melbourne’s water supply system, and is one of the largest urban water main renewal projects ever undertaken in the CBD.” Mr. Walsh said.
“As some of the first water mains laid underneath the city, the pipes have reached the end of their design life and it is essential they are replaced.”
“This project is part of City West Water’s $100 Million five-year program of ongoing upgrades across inner and western Melbourne that will ensure our water supply network operates efficiently.” Mr. Walsh said.
Mr. Walsh said the main suffered a major burst in 2009 near the Magistrate’s Court Complex, and the replacement project would dramatically reduce the risk of any similar incident.
“The old water mains are made of riveted wrought iron and will be replaced with a modern steel pipe less prone to corrosion and ruptures caused by ground movement.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Given the age and historical significance of the old water mains, a small section of the wrought iron pipe will be kept for display purposes in the future.”
The works will see water mains replaced in stages along the entire length of William Street from Flinders Street to Howard Street near the Queen Victoria Market.
During the works, the northbound lanes of William Street will be closed to traffic in sections, with the first section closed between Bourke and Lonsdale streets.
City West Water Managing Director Anne Barker said the project was a culmination of years of detailed planning and design.
“Replacing water mains that are almost as old as Melbourne itself in a heavily trafficked area in the middle of the CBD is a complex undertaking, and we’ve designed the project to minimise the impact as much as possible.” Ms. Barker said.
“The good news is that water supply isn’t expected to be interrupted to properties along William Street and supply will be maintained at all times.”
“While there will be some traffic diversions in place around the works site, our aim is to carry out the mains replacement as quickly as possible and restore each block of William Street as fast as we can.” Ms. Barker said.
The mains replacement is scheduled to take 15 months to complete. Works will move northwards one block at a time towards Queensberry Street before relocating to Flinders Street in April 2012. Each block is expected to take approximately two months to complete.