About Walmer Street Bridge
The Walmer Street Bridge crosses the Yarra River and connects Kew to Richmond and Abbotsford. It plays an important role for pedestrians and the regional bicycle network.
The bridge has 3 sections:
- the southern land bridge (City of Yarra asset)
- the river bridge (a heritage-listed Victorian Government asset)
- the northern land bridge (City of Boroondara asset).
The northern land bridge section of the Walmer Street Bridge is in poor condition and needs to be replaced.
Construction status update
On Wednesday 17 August 2022, the full length of Walmer Street Bridge was closed and construction started. There have been some delays to construction due to:
- extensive wet weather experienced in late 2022
- issues with sourcing materials
- the need to adjust the construction management plan to protect culturally sensitive areas, in line with our Cultural Heritage Plan.
Construction on the northern land bridge is now expected to be completed between late-July and early-August 2023.
Additional works starting on southern land bridge (City of Yarra asset)
We have been liaising with the City of Yarra throughout the planning, design and construction stages of our northern land bridge replacement project.
Salta Properties (a developer) plans to start construction on the southern land bridge in the near future. These works are being delivered by Salta as a requirement of their planning permit to build the ‘Walmer’ residential development located 649 Victoria Street, Abbotsford.
Salta will send notification letters to all affected residents once their construction plans are finalised. We will also update you once we hear more about Salta’s construction plans.
Aim of our works
With funding support from the Australian Government, our works to replace the northern land bridge will result in:
- a safer shared path for pedestrians and cyclists through an increase in the bridge’s width (from 1.7 m to 3.3 m), and handrail lighting
- the bridge meeting the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 through the decrease in the bridge’s steepness
- structural improvements to the bridge and to the staircase down to the riverbank
- an improvement to the bridge’s overall look and convenience.
You can view artists' impressions of the new northern land bridge structure below.
Other ways of getting around
We encourage people who regularly use the bridge to think about different routes or ways of getting around while it is closed. Options to consider include:
- taking the bus - bus routes 200 and 207 operate along Studley Park Road (north of the bridge)
- walking or cycling along a different route
Visit the PTV website for more information about public transport. You can also view some different route options below:
Residents over the age of 65 who need help getting around Boroondara while the bridge is closed may be eligible to use Council’s transport services. For information about these services:
- visit our Help getting around page on the City of Boroondara website
- contact ourActive Ageing team at email@example.com or call 9278 4777 between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays (except public holidays)
Our work so far
Since 2008, we have advocated for the northern land bridge section of Walmer Street Bridge to be replaced. This was an action we included in our 2008 Boroondara Bicycle Strategy and would support the Victorian Government's Principal Bicycle Network and Strategic Cycling Corridors.
In 2013, we received a report that said the bridge is in poor condition. It explained that the bridge has:
- defects in its structure
- beams that are failing
- timber railing posts that are splitting
- a deck that is sagging.
The community also shared their concerns about the width, surface and steepness of the northern land bridge section. The report and feedback from the community confirmed the need for the structure to be replaced.
In 2013, temporary scaffolding was installed at the northern land bridge section. Scaffolding was replaced with steel supports in 2015.In 2016, we started work on a permanent design solution to replace the northern land bridge section.
In December 2020, the Heritage Council decided that Walmer Street Bridge was of ‘State-level cultural heritage significance’ and should be added to the Victorian Heritage Register.
After this announcement, we needed to change our designs and submit it to Heritage Victoria as part of a permit application.
In December 2021, Heritage Victoria approved a conditional permit for construction.
With support from the City of Yarra and the Walmer Street Bridge Working Group, we have also been advocating to the Victorian Government to replace the whole bridge. In 2018, the Victorian Government completed feasibility studies to replace the full length of Walmer Street Bridge. Unfortunately, the Victorian Government has still not committed to go ahead with the redevelopment at this stage.
Trees near the bridge
Since the Walmer Street Bridge was originally built, some trees have grown directly next to the bridge structure.
Experts determined that 4 trees need to be removed to be able to widen the northern land bridge and make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Experts said the trees which need to be removed have a life expectancy of fewer than 10 years based on their current health and structure. This means these trees may need to be removed in the next 5 to 10 years.
We will offset the trees being removed by planting 13 semi-advanced, new trees on the eastern side of the new northern land bridge. These trees will be local native species to preserve the biodiversity of the river corridor. We will also plant hundreds of smaller shrubs and grasses, so the bushland setting continues to thrive for years to come.