Burwood Link

Deakin University’s Burwood Link is intended to link the Elgar Road and Burwood Highway sides of the Melbourne Burwood Campus. The proposed new Burwood Link will provide a safe, accessible and environmentally friendly crossing for staff, students and visitors.

Project summary

Status

Construction

Completion date

Mid-2017

Project manager

Mike David
+61 3 9244 6244
mike.david@deakin.edu.au

Project update

10 October 2016 

Construction will commence shortly on a new pedestrian bridge – the Burwood Link – over Gardiners Creek Reserve. 

The Gardiners Creek Reserve and most pathways are to remain open to users throughout the construction period. However, there will be some re-routing along alternative pathways required at times to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. 

Clear signage will be maintained around the site and wayfinding signage will be clearly visible during the construction phase. Traffic management personnel will provide safety advice as required.

Stepping to an integrated campus

Each week, around 43,000 pedestrians cross the existing bridge between the two sites of Burwood Campus, including 1000 pedestrians an hour during busy times. 

The Burwood Link will address increased foot traffic, overcome the risk of flooding and gain compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992.

Design and structure

In 2012, Deakin sought community views on a previous design for a crossing between the Elgar Road and Burwood Highway sides of its campus. 

The feedback given is reflected in a revised design which is lighter, narrower, less obtrusive and more environmentally friendly – with a natural, rusted steel look and glazed sides.

More information about the link is available in the below document.

Community information

Plans and images of the Burwood Link project are available for viewing at the Deakin University Library at the Melbourne Burwood Campus. Please ask for the plans at the Burwood Library counter.

Deakin University is fully committed to keeping the community informed during the construction period and intends to hold community information sessions, communicate regularly to the local community, and have information freely available at the Deakin University Library and on the University’s website.

Community information sessions

A community information session relating to the proposed landscaping and vegetation works was held on Wednesday 27 April 2016. Presentations from the session are available for download below.

Questions and answers

Do you have further questions about the Burwood Link? Review our questions and answers below or read the document.

Why is an elevated pedestrian crossing over Gardiners Creek needed?

The current Gardiners Creek crossing is not safe and is not compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). The University received a complaint through the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission regarding the discriminatory nature of the current crossing over the Gardiners Creek Reserve.

The current crossing discriminates against staff, students and the public with particular disabilities. Deakin needs as a matter of urgency to address this issue of discrimination and be able to provide everybody with safe and convenient access to both sides of the Burwood Campus by constructing the proposed Gardiners Creek elevated crossing over the reserve.

Is the crossing going to be a road or is it a pedestrian bridge only?

The proposed structure will be a pedestrian crossing only.

The only motorised vehicles will be wheel chairs, the occasional maintenance (golf style) buggies and emergency vehicles such as ambulances. Deakin will install control measures to prevent unauthorised vehicle access to the link.

Will only uni staff and students be able to use the link?

No. The link will be open to the entire community to use at all times.

It will be a structure that not only assists students and staff to move from one side of the campus to the other, but will also provide better access to the University and its facilities, such as the library and gymnasium. It will allow everybody in the community to move freely from Elgar Road to Burwood Highway and vice versa.

The link will allow for staff, students and the community to safely cross the creek with ease, while allowing others in the community to continue to use the Gardiners Creek recreational trails for bike riding, physical exercise and dog walking. This separation will not only reduce the impact on creek reserve users but will assist in addressing cultural differences for some overseas students relating to their attitudes to dogs.

Will Deakin be responsible for and maintain the link?

Yes. Deakin will be responsible for the funding and construction of the proposed Burwood Link and all ongoing maintenance at no cost to state or local government.

The University will work closely with the Whitehorse City Council in relation to matters such as graffiti removal, rubbish removal and other routine maintenance issues indirectly associated with the link stratum that may impact on the Gardiners Creek Reserve at ground level.

Has Deakin considered the safety of people using the link?

The new design specifically provides for improved personal safety both during the day and at night, with improved lighting and CCTV security that is compliant with the Victoria Police guidelines on 'Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design'.

What's the impact of the link on the existing Gardiners Creek open space?

There will be minimal loss of open space associated with the proposed Burwood Link. The Burwood Link will have only one support physically landing on the existing reserve.

The area beneath the elevated bridge will still be totally accessible to the community and, as part of the improved design, there is greater clearance between the underside of the structure and the ground to address any perceptions of being 'closed in'.

Far from putting pressure on parkland, it will remove over 40,000 crossings per week from Gardiners Creek, which will help remove congestion for those using the Gardiners Creek reserve.

How will Deakin address vegetation removal associated with the link construction?

Can the recreational trails in Gardiners Creek Reserve be used during link construction?

The design of the link has also addressed construction methods that minimise disruption to the creek reserve and its users. The structure will be pre-fabricated offsite and craned into place from University land. It's proposed that construction within the creek reserve will be limited to the construction of the one-support pylon structure. It's intended that there will be minimal, short-term only disruption for creek reserve users, and it's proposed that at least one of the existing paths along the creek be maintained at all times allowing for continuing access by creek reserve users.

Why did Deakin submit a planning permit to the City of Whitehorse and pursue a Ministerial Planning Scheme Amendment with the Minister of Planning?

Deakin University was confident that its planning permit application for the new improved design for the Burwood Link – which will be a lighter, narrower, less obtrusive and more environmentally sustainable crossing than the previous bridge design, and was supported by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – would be successful.

However, the University was also mindful that like all planning processes, which can include referrals to VCAT, timelines can be prolonged.

Given the urgency of addressing these safety and discrimination matters, and the fact that there had already been extensive community consultation on the previous design that obtained a planning permit, Deakin sought the support of the Minister for Planning for a ministerial amendment to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme to ensure that this vital new link joining the two sides of the Burwood Campus could be expedited as soon as possible.

What will happen to the planning application lodged with the City of Whitehorse?

Deakin University has withdrawn Planning Application WH/2015/818.

What's the impact of the Planning Scheme Amendment to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme?

Ministerial Amendment C210 to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme came into effect on 14 January 2016. This amendment modifies the Schedules to Clause 52.03 and Clause 81.01 to insert a new incorporated document titled, Deakin University, Burwood Link Project November 2015, to facilitate the construction of the ‘Deakin University, Burwood Link Project’.

It also amends the Schedule to Clause 61.01 so that the Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority for administering and enforcing the scheme for the ‘Deakin University, Burwood Link Project’.

Wasn't a permit for a pedestrian bridge across Gardiners Creek approved previously?

In 2010, the Victorian Civil Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) instructed the City of Whitehorse to approve a permit for a new bridge to be built.

However, following consultation with the community about the design, size, weight and impact of the bridge on the Gardiners Creek environs, Deakin allowed this permit to expire with a view to undertaking a new design in an effort to address concerns raised by community members and the Whitehorse City Council.

Why was the Gardiners Creek Crossing Reference Group's 'switchback option' not accepted by Deakin?

The preferred option of the Gardiners Creek Crossing Reference Group, which was established by the University and included community members, was not accepted by the University because it was not the best possible outcome for people with a disability and would have had a greater impact in the creek corridor.

The preferred crossing under this option would have resulted in connecting a ramp system of over 100 metres in length with a vertical rise of over 16 metres. Due to physical fatigue levels of people with varying types of disabilities, the Building Code of Australia sets a maximum vertical rise limit of 3.6 metres to enable reasonable use of the ramp run without causing physical duress, harm or injury.

Experts reviewed this bridge option and the advice obtained indicated that considerable earth removal from the reserve would be required, which would significantly alter the reserve and adversely impact the Gardiners Creek environmental features in this location.

What's different about the new bridge design?

The new proposed link will be a different structure from the previous one that was rejected by some in the community. The new link has been purposely designed to:  

  • be much lighter
  • be less imposing and less visually obtrusive for the environment
  • have only 1 pylon in the creek reserve rather than 4
  • be more environmentally sustainable
  • need considerably less vegetation removal.
Element Burwood Link Interconnect
(previous proposal)
Width 4m link over reserve, splayed to 6.4m at west end Width from 4.3–10 m, with 6.3m average
Support structures within the reserve 1 'v' shaped 4 supports
Proposed no. of impacted trees (remove or trim) within the reserve Approx. 19 trees
(No planning listed trees, mostly revegetation)
Approx. 85 trees
Height and truss of balustrade 3.8m 9.3m
Maximum height above ground level 14.4m 11.6–12.0m
Length within the reserve 113m 119m
Total length of link 245m 200m
Approximate amount of steel 150 tonnes 300 tonnes

Is Deakin negligent in not providing an accessible campus?

Deakin University takes seriously its duty of care to students, staff and members of the public who use the Burwood Campus and its facilities, and is committed to resolve the current unsatisfactory access that is discriminating against staff, students and the public by not having a DDA-compliant crossing over Gardiners Creek.

The University was also obliged to address a complaint through the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission regarding the discriminatory nature of the current crossing over the Gardiners Creek Reserve.

How many people with a disability live in the Deakin residence on Elgar Rd?

The number of people with a disability is not the issue. If one person is suffering discrimination, as a community we should say that it is not acceptable and take measures to address the issue.

The current crossing is not compliant under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) (DDA).

The University does not know how many people with particular disabilities have enquired about accommodation with Deakin and then have withdrawn their interest once they have seen the difficulties in moving from one side of the campus to the other across the creek.

Deakin has an obligation to its staff, students and the broader community to provide a safe and accessible crossing that is compliant with the DDA.