This is one of 110 Victorian Government projects that remove the state’s most dangerous a congested level crossings.
Besides relieving traffic congestion in metropolitan Melbourne, these projects bring opportunities for great urban design that renews and reconnects communities.
Working with multidisciplinary engineers and landscape architects from SMEC, BKK relocated South Gippsland Highway onto a new bridge. A new intersection connects it to Princes Highway, improving safety and traffic flow. The thoroughfare has been re-routed slightly so that the existing road could be used while the bridge was under construction.
It opened in August 2021, several months ahead of schedule.
The project is in Dandenong South, an outer-Melbourne area with residential, industrial and light-industrial zones. This intersection is a gateway to Dandenong’s activity centre and, in the opposite direction, to the greater South Gippsland region.
It’s a car-dominated environment; however, to encourage all forms of transport, new paths have been integrated into the bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.
This project has been a genuine collaboration between engineering, architecture, landscape architecture and urban design. Throughout the design process, we discussed design items frequently with SMEC and developed the details together.
BKK and SMEC prioritised the project’s landscape. We created a new landform feature at the intersection: two mounds bisected by a path. As the planting grows, it will become a woody meadow of wild grasses and flowers.
Our architectural contribution goes further than decoration: through understanding the functional requirements and long-term patterns of use, we were able to contribute robust details that will age well and be durable and safe.
The bridge’s distinctive retaining walls are coloured to suit the landscape, and offer a distinctive landmark.
The graphics, which break up the walls’ mass, recall Dandenong’s industrial heritage of rusty corrugated iron and the bold supergraphics of freeway architecture.
The bridge balustrades are visually minimal to make them as transparent as possible. This is for pedestrians’ safety and to reveal views of the surrounding terrain from the elevated bridge.
With over 31,000 cars and trucks travelling through this route each day, removing the level crossing has relieved congestion and shortened travel times in one of Australia’s busiest industrial/light industrial areas.