Works have begun on the M41 water main renewal project in Melbourne to ensure safe and reliable delivery of water to millions of people living in the inner northern suburbs.

Residents in Coburg, Brunswick East, Fitzroy North, Fitzroy, East Melbourne and the CBD are all serviced by the M41 water main, which is more than 100 years old and must be upgraded.

The M41 water main runs from the beginning of Merri Creek all the way to the Yarra River in the CBD.

The works will impact several major streets in the inner north as well as the iconic Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy North.

Melbourne Water project manager, Peter Clarke, said community feedback had played a vital role in the development of the project.

“We introduced this project to the community in the earliest planning stages and worked with them extensively during 2017 to ensure we delivered on their expectations,” Mr Clarke said.

“Where there were strong messages from the community, we sought to incorporate them into our design and construction plans.

“For example, Edinburgh Gardens is highly valued and frequently utilised by people from both the northern suburbs and all over Melbourne, so we were committed to minimising our impact on the park wherever possible.

“We heard loud and clear from the community that the preservation of the mature elm trees in the park was very important, so we changed the alignment of the works in order to ensure that no mature trees were impacted.

“We have also timed these works so that construction in Edinburgh Gardens occurs during winter, when park use is at its lowest.

“We know Edinburgh Gardens is also a hugely important community space and we believe our design decisions are in keeping with those community values.”

The route design has incorporated many complex factors, including avoiding existing underground services and making sure the new main connects into the wider water supply system at various points.

Despite these challenges, community values were prioritised wherever possible to reduce construction impacts.

“In addition to reducing our impact on Edinburgh Gardens we have also modified the original project alignment to completely bypass Fitzroy Gardens in the CBD,” Mr Clarke said.

“The frequent, year-round use of this park, particularly for weddings and other major events, meant we needed to think creatively during the design phase to ensure the new water main detoured around the park, as the existing main runs directly through it.

“Working in built up areas, or areas with high community amenity, to deliver a project of this scale is extremely challenging but we’re very pleased with the final design and route alignment.”

In February 2018, Melbourne Water appointed CPB Contractors Black and Veatch Joint Venture to complete the works.

Early works currently being undertaken involve geotechnical drilling and a number of site examinations.

Major construction will begin on a number of fronts in May 2018 including in Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy North, Under Alexandra Parade in Fitzroy North and along George street in Fitzroy. 

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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