FAQ | Bridge Street Mall Development

Bridge Mall

When will works begin?

Preliminary works including soil and ground testing have already commenced, with major civil works taking place in 2023. 

When will Bridge Street officially open to traffic?

At the moment, the City of Ballarat is expecting major civil works to take 12 to 18 months to complete. Once a works contractor is appointed and works begin the timeline will become clearer. 

Will there be a play space?

Yes. Our community expressed a lot of interest in creating a meeting place where children and young people could play safely, and their carers could stop and sit comfortably.  

This feedback resulted in the design of a creative play space which would bring new people to Bridge Street. This supports the idea of creating a destination in the heart of the city. 

The opportunity to build a play space also means there is a chance to create a talking point, a reason to discover the Bridget Street anew and make a significant location which would extend wider benefits to the surrounding retail area. 

What plants will form the landscaping in Bridge Street?

Plant choices include many shrub and grass species already planted along the length of Sturt Street, in garden beds and high-profile locations where they provide year-round colour and greenery. 

What sort of bollards will be used? How will they be removed to cater to festivals and events?

We are still finalising the type of bollards that will be installed.  

Bollards are designed to provide security and subtle direction for pedestrians and to warn drivers of restricted areas or to deny drivers access to pedestrian-only areas.  

Where necessary, some bollards will be removable to enable easy use for festivals and major events. 


What features will there be to ensure accessibility for all?

Bridge Street will be fully accessible to people of all abilities. The design provides a fully integrated space for people of all abilities.

Where are First Nations’ stories embedded into the streetscape?

Before colonisation, the area was a significant cultural landscape for the Wadawurrung People. Yarrowee is a Wadawurrung word for ‘gum trees growing in water’.  

The area served as a gathering point for ceremony as well as food gathering and harvesting from the land and water. 

Hassell worked with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to ensure cultural elements were reflected in these designs. 

As a result, an arch symbol, representing Wadawurrung People gathering will be embedded in the pavement while a portal will provide a window and a connection to the Yarrowee River flowing below. 

The designs also draw from the name ‘Ballaarat’, which means ‘resting place’ or ‘bended elbow’, encouraging people to slow down, gather and connect with one another. 

How will works be carried out so that businesses can continue to operate?

The City of Ballarat will work with the successful contractor to minimise disruption to traders where possible. 

Every effort will be made to maintain access to stores in Bridge Street throughout the construction period. 

People wanting to visit the precinct are encouraged to do so, to support local businesses and shop at the retailers they normally visit. 

We will continue to remind shoppers that businesses are open and trading as usual. 

The exact roll out of works will be determined once the contractor is engaged. Businesses will be kept informed of how and when works will be conducted by regular communication. 

Businesses will be well supported in the six months before works so they are fully prepared.

Will traders be impacted during important trading times?

The City of Ballarat will work with the successful contractor to reduce the impact on surrounding businesses. The timing of the redevelopment will be carefully planned around important retail trading times, such as Easter and Christmas.

How can I provide feedback?

The community consultation process has now closed. 

Over the past few years, we embarked on extensive community consultation as part of a co-design process that has helped shape the designs for Bridge Street. We have reviewed and fine-tuned the designs with traders, other stakeholders and landscape architects, Hassell. 

We are now presenting the final designs for the $15 million redevelopment of Bridge Street. 

If you still wish to provide feedback, please email info@ballarat.vic.gov.au

Why make the space open for shared use between people, cyclists and cars? Why introduce traffic into the mall?

The redesign of the area is focused on making it a comfortable and inviting place for people, regardless of their mode of transport.  

Vehicle access is an important change as it enables access and movement through the area beyond the traditional trading hours – particularly after 5.30pm when the area currently entirely closes.  

The shared use of space increases exposure to businesses and provides passive surveillance to enhance safety.  

In particular, hospitality businesses benefit from passing traffic as potential customers often drive past the area to see the level of activity, then walk back to areas of interest and where other people have gathered.  

Cyclists create new pathways and commuter-routes through the city, bringing movement. Pedestrians look for short and safe routes to their intended destination, as well as look for comfortable zones to stop and linger.  

Shared space means treating all users with respect, slowing down the heart of the city but still permitting movement to allow people to reach their destination. 

The ultimate design will enable the area to remain closed to traffic and be pedestrian only for markets, events and at other agreed times when the space is best utilised as a pedestrian only space.  

The movement of traffic (slow speed and shared with pedestrians) provides its benefits at those other times when the additional exposure is a benefit to businesses in the area.  

The intent of re-introducing traffic is to add an additional dimension to the activity, vibrancy and experience of the area, not to utilise the space for through-traffic or in any way prioritise cars over pedestrians. 

Why not a two-way option for cars?

Although Bridge Street was a two-way street with parking and trams prior to it becoming a mall, shopping trends and public expectations have changed.  

Outdoor dining, street furniture, dedicated play space, meet and greet pockets, and lots of greenery will all add to the attractiveness of the street but necessitate a one-way traffic flow.  

Two-way traffic would require the removal of greenery and play spaces which are highly valued by the community and businesses. 

Why was the east-west traffic flow chosen – wouldn't it be better for visitors to arrive at a grand entrance travelling west towards Sturt Street and the Town Hall? 

The redevelopment is designed to connect the Bridge Mall area with Sturt Street, so the two spaces seamlessly enable movement between the two.  

Most residents access the CBD from the west and enabling that transition from Sturt Street into the space best encourages residents to see the activity in the area, park and walk back into the space to spend time and money.  

Ballarat residents currently spend $3 in the area for every $1 by visitors, and it is considered that the design should best service locals – as if the locals love an area, that activity is what attracts visitation and gives businesses the boost in customers.  

A one-way entry from Victoria Street services significantly less people in general and is less convenient for the vast majority of locals arriving in the CBD by car.  

It most importantly does not fundamentally connect the Bridge Mall area with Sturt Street, and the Grenville Street intersection remains a site where those arriving from the west must divert into lower quality spaces. 

The preferred option of providing access from Sturt Street enables significant landscaping and design improvements to Little Bridge Street, so it still achieves the goal of a notable and high-quality arrival experience linking Victoria Street to Sturt Street.  

The Precinct Plan continues the planting and landscaping themes of Victoria Street through the CBD for the first time - seeking to achieve both the need for an improved arrival experience and best connectivity. 

How much parking will be provided, and will it be metred? 

The new street design will provide limited, convenient, short-term parking spaces, mostly for drop-offs and pick-ups. This parking is also designed to provide increased accessibility for people with limited mobility. It is not intended for use as long-term parking. Ample parking exists north and south of Bridge Street. 

How are cars going to improve access and support of businesses? 

It is about maximising the street’s potential with the aim of ensuring there are more people moving through the area at all times of the day and night, in a space that is vibrant, safe and comfortable, and an attractive choice for visitors from outside the city.   

Retail and other users will gain the benefit of exposure and movement. 

Why is Grenville Street being closed south bound?

This will ensure that the broader Bakery Hill Urban Renewal plan and precinct can deliver what’s promised – a connected and thriving space.  

Grenville Street has evolved over time, but these changes will ensure the precinct is set up for the next generation as well as providing better access to Bridge Street.  

A major new greenspace alongside pedestrian and amenity improvements will upgrade this space while removing the excessive wait times at the intersection between Little Bridge and Sturt Streets.

What about the named pavers purchased by Ballarat individuals and families? 

The historical named pavers near the existing playground reflect the efforts of many in our community.  

The City of Ballarat has committed to ensuring that the new streetscape honours those names by retaining the pavers.  

The pavers will greet you at the entrance to Bridge Street, where the Sturt Street gardens are extended into Grenville Street.

Will Bridge Street be able to be closed when events or festivals are scheduled?  

Yes, infrastructure such as bollards will be used to readily close the street when required.

What will the Peel Street exit out of Bridge Street look like?

There is little change to this exit. Cars will have the option of turning left, right or proceeding straight ahead at the west end of the Bakery Hill precinct. This is likely to be a signalled intersection.

How can I obtain more information?

Refer to the website or visit the pop-up shop at 16 Bridge Mall. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10am - 2pm.

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