Discovering artefact from 1870s during excavations for road upgrade

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The Bridge Inn Road Upgrade has uncovered a hidden part of Doreen’s infrastructure history dating back over 150 years.

An eagle-eyed environmental advisor working on the project was first to notice the edge of what turned out to be a 7m-long timber structure as it emerged during excavation works near the Yan Yean Pipe Track.

The timely sighting allowed the project team and heritage consultant Biosis to investigate, document and create a 3D model of the time-worn object from thousands of photographs.

Heritage experts confirmed the structure to be a timber culvert, thought to date back to the 1870s. The team believes it was built to divert surface water following the construction of an aqueduct at Yan Yean.

At the time, Melbourne was still growing strongly on the back of the Gold Rush and burgeoning agriculture, wool and manufacturing industries. With the booming economy came infrastructure such as the aqueduct, culvert and roads as the city expanded.

After alerting Heritage Victoria to the discovery, recording it in detail and receiving relevant permissions, the project team carefully removed the culvert to analyse it further and allow excavation works to continue.

We're committed to respectfully managing local heritage during project delivery. This includes documenting any assets discovered during delivery of our projects.

The Bridge Inn Road Upgrade id being delivered with construction partner Laing O’Rourke. The project is adding extra lanes in both directions between Plenty and Yan Yean roads. Other improvements include upgrades to key intersections and the construction of safety barriers and shared walking and cycling paths to improve safety and connectivity.

The upgrade has also built a new bridge over Plenty River, with the existing 157-year-old heritage bridge being repurposed as a dedicated walking and cycling path.

The upgrade will reduce congestion and improve travel times while boosting safety and connecting communities across Melbourne’s growing outer-northern suburbs.

More information about the upgrade, including traffic changes, is available on our Bridge Inn Road Upgrade page.

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