Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the new design seeks to reduce the amount of flooding during heavy rain and storms.
“Elizabeth Street was once a creek that flowed into the Yarra River and it has been the site of major flooding throughout Melbourne’s history,” Ms. Capp said.
“We have seen how quickly and severely the weather can change this summer, and we know the trends indicate that we will experience extreme weather events more frequently.”
According to Ms. Capp, intense storms lead to increased flash flooding, with Elizabeth Street remaining a low point in the catchment.
“We have worked closely with authorities while designing this project,” she said.
Work to pedestrianise and improve the area between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane will begin mid-year, with the project expected to be complete in late 2020.
“Along with reducing the flood risk on Elizabeth Street, we will extend the footpaths, plant trees and increase the pedestrian space by 400 square metres – the size of a basketball court,” Ms. Capp said.
“This will reduce congestion access around key public transport interchanges at Flinders Street Station and the Elizabeth Street tram terminus.”
Changes will include closing the southbound traffic lane to make way for a new public space, installing a new underground drain network, footpath upgrades and new street furniture, lighting and paving.
“The corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Street is one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the CBD, with up to 9000 people pounding the pavement per hour during the morning and afternoon peaks,” Ms. Capp said.
A planning permit for the project is now being advertised.