Construction of the Melba Highway pedestrian underpass at Yarra Glen will begin at the end of April and run until July, after the contract was recently awarded.
Council has secured a $100,000 Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Towards Zero grant to build the underpass to allow for better pedestrian access through Yarra Glen, including making it safer to cross Melba Highway to get to Yarra Glen Recreation Reserve and Showground.
The project is based on the Yarra Glen People’s Panel recommendations, funded using the proceeds from the sale of the former Yarra Glen Maternal and Child Health Centre.
Council submitted the underpass proposal to the TAC using concept designs developed with the Yarra Glen River Circuit Project Reference Group.
Cr Fiona McAllister said the areas on either side of the Vasey Houghton Bridge would be fenced off during construction.
“Access to the Yarra River in that area will be restricted during the works for three months or so,” Cr McAllister said.
“We are asking the community to be patient during this time until completion, as everyone will benefit from the improved 3 metre wide walking track, which will be able to be used by people of all abilities.
“Construction of the new furniture to rest and take in the river views, a drinking fountain and an outdoor fitness area should begin in June,” she said.
Cr McAllister said she would like to thank the state government’s TAC for awarding council the funding to make the area safer, and to provide better access and health and wellbeing outcomes for the community.
“This project will reduce the potential of crashes on the highway which is an 80 kilometre road, by separating the cyclist, pedestrian and vehicle movements,” Cr McAllister said.
“People coming from Yarra Glen on foot or on bikes will no longer need to cross a busy main road to access the reserve and it will encourage more people to walk and keep active.”
There will be bench seating and handrails for river viewing, with fence and weed removal taking place.
The new drinking fountain will be installed at the car parking area for the smaller sports oval and fitness equipment will be installed near the gravel car parking area on the right as you enter the reserve.
The shape of the new track will be modified at the car parking area to keep the trail away from parked cars.
The panel process included getting further feedback from the community for an improved walking trail along the Yarra River.