We’re replacing and upgrading the Harding Street Bridge to make it safer, more accessible and more user friendly.

In April 2024, we wrapped up a 5 week community consultation on the design of our new Harding Street bridge.

Along with Darebin City Council, we are now working to incorporate this community feedback into the detailed design for the new bridge.

Why we are doing this

Harding Street bridge is a timber suspension-style bridge over the Merri Creek. It opened in 1985 and features a 1.2-metre-wide timber deck that spans approximately 77 metres. The bridge provides a great view from which to observe the creek, and is an important link in the network of walking and bike riding paths in Coburg and Preston.

As more people discover the joys of walking, cycling and immersing themselves in nature, the need for improvements to this bridge has become increasingly apparent.

Community members report that the bridge is too narrow and creates difficulties passing other users, and both Merri-bek City Council and Darebin City Council have raised concerns over safety issues and potential user conflicts. In addition, the bridge has reached the end of its life, which results in high maintenance costs.

In June 2020 we hired a consultant to do a feasibility study of the bridge. The study determined that the existing bridge should be replaced.

Developing the new bridge

The new bridge is being designed to best suit the needs of both Merri-bek and Darebin community members.

In March 2021 we held drop-in sessions in which community members provided feedback on the new bridge concept design, and the design and alignment of the bridge has been updated according to the feedback received. Learn more about these changes in the drop-down menu below.

The final design

We are now in the final stages of designing the new Harding Street Bridge. Merri-bek City Council are leading the community engagement on this project, working closely with Darebin City Council, as the bridge is important to both municipalities.

The feedback gathered from the community from March - April 2024 will inform decisions as we proceed with the final detailed design.

Following the 2020 feasibility study and 2021 community engagement the following decisions have been made. These decisions are also in line with relevant engineering standards.

  • Harding Street bridge will be replaced
  • The new bridge will feature a truss style design
  • The bridge will sit at an angle, just south of the existing bridge
  • The railing of the bridge will be 1.4m high and the truss structure sides will be 3 meters high
  • The new bridge will be realigned on the Western end
  • The new bridge will feature an improvement of the dog-leg bend on the Eastern end. This will allow better path connections for bike riders and pedestrians.
  • The bridge will be 4m wide
  • Goodwin Street will become the main access point on the eastern side of the bridge

We're working with design consultants to determine aesthetic aspects of the bridge. We're now looking for the community's feedback to finalise aspects of how the bridge will look.

The new bridge will be a vast improvement to walking and bike riding networks in the area. These improvements may allow for future projects in the vicinity, including:

  • Naming the bridge
  • Public lighting improvements around the new bridge

Following our last community consultation on this project, we have made changes to the design of the new bridge.

One major change is the alignment of the bridge. The proposed design now sits at a 45-degree angle just south of the existing bridge.

This change in alignment addresses a number of community concerns. These include:

  • Minimising the time that the bridge will need to be closed during construction
  • Creating better path connections from Merri-bek to Darebin by removing the existing dog leg bend near Kendall Street
  • Assisting in better connections to the Merri Creek Trail, with the inclusion of stairs and smooth path connections

The new bridge will be 4 metres wide, which the majority of community members who took part in our engagement noted this as their preferred width.

Creating better access for people with disability or other mobility concerns remains a priority, and we continue to work to achieve the best possible path connections during this design phase.

We are also looking to reduce the 'visual bulk' of the bridge, based on community feedback, ie. a more transparent bridge.

We will review the survey responses and the feedback you provide us as part of this round of engagement. We will then use your feedback to help us finalise the detailed designs by the end of 2024.

Some ideas you suggest may be bigger than this bridge redesign project. We will forward these more ambitious ideas to the transport team or the open space design team at the relevant council. These comments may inspire new projects or help show support for an idea the community has been talking about for a long time.

Replacing a bridge is a big project requiring financial support of Merri-bek City Council, Darebin City Council and the Victorian Government.

We aim to complete the detailed design of the bridge by the end of 2024. The construction of the bridge will take approximately 18 months and is to be completed mid-2026.