Daily commuters who use the Chandler Highway can breathe a sigh of relief. Today the Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, announced the short, traffic-jam-prone road is getting a long-awaited upgrade that should remove two major bottlenecks.

The works are expected to reduce travel times in the morning by eight minutes and slash the afternoon peak-hour commute by 13 minutes. An estimated 44,000 drivers use the highway every day.

The upgrade will involve the construction of a new six-lane bridge over the Yarra River at Alphington, which will help remove the blockages that occur between Heidelberg Road and Yarra Bend Park.

“By removing the bottleneck where four lanes become two, the length of traffic queues will be reduced and allow traffic to move more freely when travelling along Chandler Highway over the Yarra River,” Donnellan said.

The upgrade will also include improved cycling and pedestrian paths, and improvements to the Heidelberg Road intersection.

“The Chandler Highway upgrade will improve the lives of locals,” said Fiona Richardson, the member for Northcote. “It will create new paths for cyclists and pedestrians, more links to the Yarra River and it will be easier to drive across the river without getting stuck in traffic.”

The current bridge – the 127-year-old Chandler Highway bridge – will be converted to paths for cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists will also be able to cross the highway on a new underpass near Yarra Boulevard.

Construction on the $110 million upgrade begins in May, with an estimated completion date midway through 2018.