Street upgrade process begins

The call is out for proposals on the $2.6 million upgrade of Balclutha's main street.

Last week, the Clutha District Council began advertising for ''suitably experienced design consultants'' to provide proposals for the upgrade. As part of the long-term plan process earlier this year, the council budgeted $2.6 million for the upgrade to take place over the next two years.

Council district assets manager Jules Witt said the upgrade could include redesign of road layouts, new footpath paving, kerb and channel, street furniture and more plantings.

It also includes placing power lines in the main business area of Clyde St underground, budgeting $400,000 for that work. Part of Lawrence's recent main street upgrade included undergrounding of power lines, which council staff said made a big difference to the township.

Mr Witt said the request for proposals was the first of three stages towards the upgrade.

The council would then short-list proposals to proceed to the second stage, the concept-design and estimate-development stage. The designs, estimates and pricing would be the basis for selection for the third stage, the detailed design and construction.

Mr Witt said a working party made up of members of the Balclutha traffic management study reference group plus several main street retailers would help to select concept designs before putting them out to the public for consultation.

''The upgrade of the main street area of Balclutha has been a discussion point in the community for over 30 years. In many instances, this has been hampered by budget constraints and discussions on where the state highway may go in future.''

Earlier this year, the council consulted on shifting State Highway 1 from the main street to one of the existing heavy traffic bypasses on James St and Charlotte St.

The process drew 769 submissions, 95% of which supported the status quo - retaining the two heavy-traffic bypasses and State Highway 1 passing through on Clyde St.

Two-thirds of the submissions were from Balclutha residents.

Mr Witt said there was now a firm commitment to retain the bypasses, and Clyde St as the state highway route.

helena.dereus@odt.co.nz