City banks on river15 June 2003 - THE Sandridge Rail Bridge will be only half-reopened - but is to cost nearly twice as much as planned.
Final plans for the 17-metre wide eyesore, seen by the Sunday Herald Sun, reveal only the eastern half will be developed as a pedestrian and cycle crossing. The base will be taken out of the western side, leaving only the supports.
Melbourne Council is managing the project on behalf of the State Government.
"There will only be a floor on half of it,"Melbourne Lord Mayor John So said.
It was hoped that the unusual design would allow more light through the bridge, Cr So said.
The western half might be developed in the long-term future, possibly with buildings, he said.
The whole structure will be repainted in a traditional railway grey.
It is a major departure from the design unveiled by the Government 14 months ago and due for construction last Spring.
It has also emerged that the cost of the bridge revamp has blown out from $4 million to $7 million.
The Government has been plagued by controversy and delays over the 1888 relic.
After an expensive and exhaustive 18-month bidding war for the design of the bridge, the Government last year decided to dump all the contestants in favour of its own plan.
Several city leaders have called for the bridge to be pulled down altogether.
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