It seems Invercargill is inundated with road works around every corner, as well as multiple road closures, temporary speed limits and diversions in place, but for good reason, explains Invercargill City Council (ICC) Roading manager Russell Pearson.
Mr Pearson said there is a full programme of road working projects for this year similar in numbers to previous years, but because a large number of these are being undertaken on high profile and busier streets the disruption to traffic was more noticeable.
Current projects include:
- Tay St (both sides) – sewer drains
- St Andrew St – stormwater drains
- Rockdale Rd – road renewal
- Gala/Mary Sts – Sewer drains
- Isabella/James Sts – kerbing renewal
- John St – stormwater drains
- Windsor St – stormwater investigation
- Elles Rd/Humber St – water mains
- Invercargill Central Business District area – PowerNet cabling
- Tanner St – water main renewal
- Eldon St – water main renewal
- Scott St – water main renewal
- Mersey St – water main renewal (New Year 2019)
Combined with small planned and urgent maintenance repairs to pipes and roads, as well as drainage, footpath and kerbing repairs and replacements; and some crossover locations for multiple projects, the co-ordination and timing was difficult to manage to ensure minimal disruption to road-users.
“Our weather means things like sealing of roads and other construction, is better done during the October to March period, when they are able to be the most productive and these compresses where we work,” Mr Pearson said.
There needs to be a safe work site with cones and signs to ensure those working on the sites are safe and the public are safe too with appropriate signage. Drivers will see temporary speed limits (typically 30km) in the urban areas.
“I encourage all drivers to respect them – as it could be your friend or family member working there,” Mr Pearson said.
“We understand that works on the road disrupt drivers travelling around the city and it disrupts businesses and parking. We try really hard to minimise this. The renewal and replacement of our pipes, drains, cables and roads is important to having the infrastructure to make sure our city runs reliably and as they get older, we have to do this work.”
These roading projects are also economically beneficial to the city and region as much of the work is carried out by local firms such as Fulton Hogan, South Roads and Downer, as well as a number of local sub-contractors.
A Fulton Hogan spokesperson said the roading works were financially beneficial right across the region, with Fulton Hogan employing more staff, engaging sub-contractors to help out and looking at ways to attract more people to the region to fill vacancies.
“The work needs done, the infrastructure is getting older and this repair and replace work will ease the likelihood of everything collapsing at once – it’s difficult to find more staff – but regionally there’s a lot of work being done and that has to be good for the entire Southland area,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Pearson added Southland has a strong contracting community and this work keeps them busy, which is good for business and the community.
“We need to make sure they are safe when they do work and we [ICC] are active supporters of the road safety campaign Any Number Is Too Many.”
A good place to keep up-to-date on roading activities is the ICC’s Word on the Street Facebook page.
In the pipeline: The ICC’s Water Department has a big project coming in Dee and Tay Sts – where they will replace the main used for firefighting. This is looking to keep ahead of the proposed major retail development in the city centre. Work could not be completed at the same time as the drainage work carried out earlier this year in Dee and Tay Sts, because the pipes are in a different part of the road and doing them simultaneously would have meant completely closing the roads to vehicles for a far longer period of time.