James Street drainage upgrade – Fortitude Valley

Brisbane City Council is upgrading the drainage infrastructure around the intersection of James Street, McLachlan Street and Ann Street to improve drainage systems and increase future flood immunity in Fortitude Valley.


Address James Street between Ann and McLachlan Streets, Fortitude Valley.
Ward Central Ward
Project outcomes Improve drainage infrastructure and increase future flood immunity in Fortitude Valley.
Latest update Start of construction.

About the project

Works will include constructing a new, large underground stormwater drainage chamber (approximately 5.3 metres wide, 18 metres long and 3 metres deep) above the existing brick drain in the intersection of McLachlan Street and James Street. A section of the existing drain will be lined with reinforced concrete to improve its condition and extend its service life.

This project also includes installation of a new underground drain line across the intersection to connect the new chamber to an existing drainage chamber in McLachlan Street. This will provide increased capacity for future upgrades upstream from James Street to other parts of Fortitude Valley and areas of Bowen Hills. A water main in the footpath on the northern side of James Street will need to be relocated as part of these works.


Construction is expected to start in mid-June 2019 and it is anticipated that works will take approximately five months from site establishment to complete, weather and construction conditions permitting. Due to the tidal nature of the underground drainage network in this area, work will be limited to times when it is safe to do so.

The majority of the works will generally take place between 6am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Works to improve the condition of the existing drain and connect the new chamber to existing chamber in McLachlan Street will need to take place at night when traffic volumes are lowest to ensure the safety of road users, pedestrians, cyclists and workers. These out-of-hours works will take place between 8pm and 5am, Monday to Thursday evenings. Council will endeavour to provide advance notice of night works, wherever possible. 

Construction impacts

During construction, you can expect:

Lane closures and some traffic delays

  • Ann Street entry to James Street closed – local business access only between Lexus and James Street Markets. Please use Morgan Street to access McLachlan Street and James Street from Ann Street
  • left turn access from McLachlan Street into James Street and onto Ann and Wickham Streets reduced from three to two lanes
  • single lane right turn access from McLachlan Street into James Street to remain as is
  • reduced speed limits around the work area
  • some detours will be in place, please seek alternative route where possible.

Changed pedestrian access conditions

  • the footpath outside David Jones will be closed for the duration of these works 
  • if required, pedestrians will be diverted across the Ann Street traffic intersection to the city side of James Street with access back to the David Jones side of the street to be available from the McLachlan Street intersection
  • traffic controllers and signage will be in place to safely direct motorists and pedestrians.

Service interruptions

  • temporary water shut downs may be required as part of the water main relocation works
  • advance notice will be provided for any scheduled water shut downs.

Other construction impacts

  • construction noise, dust and vibration at times, including saw cutting of concrete and asphalt, grinding activities and excavation works to install drainage and relocate public utility services
  • increased vehicle movements with reversing beepers and flashing lights – due to workplace health and safety requirements, reversing beepers cannot be switched off
  • increased lighting from portable light towers during night works
  • intermittent odour from marine mud disturbance    

Unfortunately, due to the nature and location of the works some construction impacts will be unavoidable. Council will make every effort to minimise disruption wherever possible including requiring contractors to complete noisier work, such as saw cutting and jack hammering, by 11pm. Council and the appointed contractor will work to complete the project as quickly as is safely possible.

We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during these important works to improve Fortitude Valley’s drainage capacity and meet the future needs of your area.

More information

If you would like to provide feedback, ask questions, or find out more about the Fortitude Valley Drainage Upgrade – James Street project, you can:

  • phone the project team on 1800 884 681 during business hours
  • phone Council on 3403 8888 outside of business hours
  • email the project team
  • write to:
    Fortitude Valley Drainage upgrade – James Street
    City Projects
    Brisbane City Council
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane Qld 4001
Last updated:20 June 2019