Chandler Highway

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Chandler Highway

General information
Length1.4 km (0.9 mi)
Route number(s) State Route 21
Tourist routes Tourist Drive 2
Major junctions
North end Heidelberg Road (State Route 46 / Tourist Drive 2), Alphington, Melbourne
  Eastern Freeway (M3)
South end Princess Street (State Route 21), Kew, Melbourne
Highway system

Chandler Highway is a short road in the inner eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It runs from Heidelberg Road in Alphington, across the Yarra River, using a narrow two-lane bridge over the Yarra River, then continues across the Eastern Freeway, then terminates at an intersection with Princess Street and Earl Street. Its total length is less than 2 kilometres, leading to its claim as "the shortest highway in the world".[1] For a city of its size, the Chandler Highway is one of very few river crossings in Melbourne.


The Yarra River bridge was originally completed in 1891 as part of the Outer Circle railway line, that ran from Fairfield station to East Camberwell station, and then south along the Alamein line to Oakleigh.[2] The section of railway occupied by the highway closed in 1893, the rail remaining on it until at least 1919,[3] with the viaduct was widened in the 1950s. Despite the closure of the Outer Circle, from 1919 the Heidelberg Road - Chandler Highway intersection in Fairfield had a single railway line running through the middle of it, servicing the Australian Paper Manufacturers factory railway siding until it was removed in the mid-1990s.[3]

The Chandler Highway was originally planned to continue east along the former rail corridor to where Earl, Asquith and Valerie Streets intersect. The highway was to end at High Street in East Kew, and although the route is still listed as a 'proposed arterial' in recent editions of the Melway street directory, the reserve has been landscaped. At the diamond interchange with the Eastern Freeway, there are visible pavements reserved for smooth (elevated) entry/ exit ramps to be constructed. These proposals are illustrated in the early eighties editions of the Melway directory, but are unlikely to be built.

Some or all of Chandler Highway was renamed from Fulham Road.[4][5]

The 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan shows the Chandler Highway as part of the F6 Freeway corridor which would eventually link up to the Mornington Peninsula Freeway.


The highway is badly congested with traffic as the four-lane highway is funnelled into two lanes at the Yarra River crossing. Over the past few years the bridge on Chandler Highway has regularly featured highly in the RACV/Leader bi-annual Redspot survey of Melbourne's worst points of traffic congestion. After regularly coming in second the Bridge was, in 2014, named as the worst point of congestion in Melbourne.[6]

Duplication of the Bridge[edit]

The bridge sits on the boundary of the State Electoral Districts of Kew and Northcote. State Member for Northcote, Fiona Richardson (Labor) led a community campaign during the term of Premier John Brumby (2007 - 2010), in the advocating for the bridge to be duplicated.

In October 2010 VicRoads released four proposed options for improving the Yarra River crossing with a new bridge:[7]

  • add an additional two lane bridge on either the east or west side of the existing bridge. The existing bridge would be retained as a two lane road bridge bringing the total lanes up to four.
  • add an additional four lane bridge on either the east or west side of the existing bridge. The existing bridge would be used as a pedestrian/cycle bridge. Local cycle groups would like to see this bridge full integrated into the shared path network via the Yarra Trail and the Anniversary Trail with an extension of the Anniversary Trail to Fairfield railway station.[8]

With the Northcote Electorate being one of the few battleground contests between Labor and the Greens Political Parties at the 2010 State Election the Chandler Highway Bridge became a key election issue with the Labor Party committing to duplicate the bridge while the Greens Political Party against any duplication.

With the election of a Liberal National Coalition Government in 2010 plans to duplicate the bridge halted despite Northcote remaining a Labor held seat.

In the intervening period the Amcor Paper Mill on the corner of Heidelberg Rd and Chandler Highway, Alphington ceased operations and vacated the site in 2012 before it was sold in mid 2013.[9]

Successive State Governments have given high level approval for residential development at the site subject to detailed planning which would arguably add increased traffic congestion to an already gridlocked area.

On 15 June 2014 Labor Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews and Fiona Richardson announced that Labor would commit $110 million to fixing Chandler Highway with construction works to commence immediately, if Labor was elected to Govern at the 2014 State Election to be held on 29 November.[10]

In 2017, construction began on a new six-lane bridge on the western side.[11] When complete, the existing bridge will be converted for use by pedestrians and cyclists.

Major intersections[edit]

DarebinYarra boundaryAlphington00.0 Grange Road (State Route 21) north / Heidelberg Road (State Route 46 east & west / Tourist Drive 2 east) – Reservoir, Heidelberg, Greensborough, Clifton Hill, MelbourneNorthern terminus at traffic lights; Tourist Drive 2 northern concurrency terminus
Yarra River0.50.31Bridge over river
BoroondaraKew0.70.43 Yarra Boulevard (Tourist Drive 2)Tourist Drive 2 southern concurrency terminus
1.10.68 Eastern Freeway (M3) – Frankston, Ringwood, MelbourneDiamond interchange
1.40.87 Princess Street (State Route 21) south / Earl Street south-east  – Kew, Burnley, BalwynSouthern terminus at traffic lights; continues as Earl Street

See also[edit]

Australia road sign W5-29.svg Australian Roads portal


  1. ^ Only
  2. ^ David Beardsell and Bruce Herbert (1979). The Outer Circle: A history of the Oakleigh to Fairfield Park Railway. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). ISBN 0-85849-024-2.
  3. ^ a b S Cauchi (November 1994). "Closure of the Australian Paper Ltd siding at Fairfield". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 328–331.
  4. ^ According to "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 September 2006. Retrieved 26 November 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) it was renamed in 1994. The 1966 Melway appears to contradict this: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Chandler Highway and Bridge Act 1954
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Northcote Leader: Hopes for Chandler Highway bridge fix Archived 25 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Boroondara BUG - Chandler Hwy Environs
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^