We're upgrading Chandler Highway to improve traffic flow between Melbourne's inner east, south and north.


The Chandler Highway Upgrade is converting the original 128-year-old heritage bridge into a walking and cycling path.

New life for a local landmark

We respect the bridge’s historical significance and will be undertaking refurbishment works, to ensure its heritage value is maintained and can be used for many years to come.

Once the refurbishment works are complete the heritage bridge will:

  • become a shared walking and cycling path
  • link to the Anniversary and Main Yarra trails
  • include seating and rest areas
  • feature interpretive signage with historic imagery, telling the story and evolution of the bridge.

Refurbishment works

To restore the bridge to its original condition we will remove what is currently covering it, including graffiti and paint. As part of this work, experts in heritage refurbishment will remove lead paint from the lattice truss structure.

We will then paint the wrought iron trusses in their original colour, repair damaged mortar and complete any necessary repairs to the stonework and brickwork.

Refurbishment works are expected to be complete in late 2019.

Frequently asked questions

What is the history of the bridge?

The original Chandler Highway bridge was built by contractors Graham & Wadick as part of the Outer Circle Railway in 1889–90. The bridge was part of a grand plan to develop new eastern suburbs and provide a rail bypass between Gippsland and Melbourne’s livestock saleyards and Spencer Street goods yards.

Sections of the railway line closed after just two years of operation due to mismanagement and the effects of the 1890's economic depression. In 1930 it was converted for road use.

What is happening to the bridge?

We are undertaking conservation and bridge repair work in recognition of the bridge’s historical significance. We’re taking care as we convert it into a dedicated cycling and walking path, so it can be used and appreciated for many years to come.

What work will occur on the bridge?

We will be restoring the heritage brick and repainting the wrought iron trusses.The existing protective coating on the steelwork contains lead.

Due to corrosion and rust, the project will be removing lead paint at localised areas, to repair the steelwork in preparation for re-painting with modern safe paint.

When will the restoration works be complete?

We anticipate that the heritage bridge works will be complete in late 2019.

How will you ensure the health and safety of the community when removing the lead paint?

The health and safety of the community is paramount.

As part of these refurbishment works we will be progressively covering sections of the bridge with scaffold containment sheeting. This will create an enclosed space for workers to refurbish the bridge and remove lead-based paint.

How will the paint be removed?

The works will be undertaken in a 3-stage process:

  • Stage 1 – Prior to any lead removal works, the areas where lead paint is to be removed will be washed down using a low-pressure water washer and/or hand wash.
  • Stage 2 – We will then remove any lead-based paint through a combination of dry spot blasting (this will avoid damage to the metalwork), sanding with a special vacuum cleaner and chemical striping. The area will be cleaned frequently and particle waste will be removed from the enclosed work area by vacuum extraction into designated hazardous waste bin storage.
  • Stage 3 – Once removal works are completed; the area will be cleaned. Testing will be conducted to ensure the area is free from any contaminants.

Is it safe to still walk or cycle on the heritage bridge during this work?

Yes, the scaffold containment sheeting will make it safe for passers-by.

Is air monitoring being undertaken?

Yes, we will be monitoring the air quality during the removal of lead paint.

Air samplers will be located at appropriate places around the work site and monitoring will be undertaken for the entire duration of all lead paint removal works.

What is happening to the lead paint which has been removed?

Contaminated waste materials will be contained within a designated exclusion zone where works are taking place until it is removed from site and disposed of by a licensed waste removal provider.

All water used for washing down dust and dirt on the steelwork will be captured, collected and stored in a suitable tank. The water will then be sampled, tested and handled in accordance with the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009.

Particle waste generated by abrasive blasting of lead-based paints will be removed from the enclosed work area by vacuum extraction into designated hazardous waste bin storage.

All other waste from working with lead-based paint will be double bagged, sealed, vacuumed and transported to a designated hazardous waste bin storage. The hazardous waste will be removed by a licensed hazardous waste removalist.

Heritage listing

In 2016 we applied for the bridge to be State Heritage listed to formally recognise its structural significance and importance to the community. On 30 June 2016, the bridge was added to the Victorian Heritage Register.

Respecting the past

To preserve the rich history and culture of the heritage bridge, we’ll:

  • install rail tracks into the new heritage bridge, highlighting its original use as part of part of the Outer Circle Railway. Text will be scribed onto these rail tracks from Dacre Smyth’s 1979 poem about the bridge and the words from the original petition to build the Outer Circle Railway in the 1880s
  • add signage along the length of the bridge, which will trace the key events of the bridge’s history in chronological order
  • install glass panels under seating areas, allowing you to look at the key structural features on the underside of the bridge.

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