The City of Melbourne has pledged $750,000 to investigate the re-opening of a subway between Little Collins St and Southern Cross Station.
According to a council spokesperson, the tunnel formed part of the passenger subway through the former Spencer Street Station, before it was redeveloped as Southern Cross Station.
“Council has agreed to allocate funding in the current capital works budgets to investigate the feasibility of re-establishing a connection to an existing tunnel which runs under Spencer St and which could connect the station frontage to Little Collins St,” the spokesperson said.
One of the original entrances to the tunnel is still in place on Little Collins St, but is blocked off from entry.
According to the council spokesperson, the disused subway now supports a number of service and utility ducts for the station.
“This area of central Melbourne sees high and increasing volumes of pedestrian traffic and an additional way for pedestrians to cross Spencer St is seen as desirable, if it’s found to be feasible,” the spokesperson said.
Public Transport Users Association spokesperson Daniel Bowen said the organisation welcomed the City of Melbourne’s investigation.
“While we understand parts of the old subway are used for services, vehicles and storage, there does seem to be potential for a partial re-opening to pedestrians, so we welcome the City of Melbourne investigation into whether it is possible,” Mr Bowen said.
“There is regular congestion for pedestrians along Bourke and Collins streets waiting to cross Spencer St to enter the station, with people at times overflowing onto the road.”
“Adjustment of traffic light sequences could help, but re-opening at least the section of the subway under the road would provide an alternative way into the station, in much the same way as the Degraves St subway provides an additional route into Flinders Street Station,” he said.
The council’s investigation will involve a street survey, geotechnical and utility investigations along with de-gassing works and is expected to be completed by mid-year.