Melbourne's Southern Star big wheel to be 'partially replaced'

The trouble-plagued Southern Star observation wheel at Docklands will be closed for at least a year as large sections of the wheel are dismantled and replaced.

Cracking appeared in the $100 million wheel in February, closing the 120-metre tall wheel indefinitely.

Fred Maybury, chairman of the Southern Star, said today the operators were "leaning towards partial replacement, rather than on-site repair" of the wheel.

"If we pursue this option, the works will involve the removal of the existing cabins and wheel framing which will be replaced with newly fabricated spokes and rim leaving the columns, hub and three storey wheel building in place," he said in a written statement.

The wheel's engineers, Sanoyas Hishino Meisho, are undertaking the works under the original manufacturer's warranty.

WorkSafe spokesman Michael Birt said they would monitor the repair work on the wheel.