Highway upgrade to start this year

Central Balclutha, looking north down Clyde St (State Highway 1) towards the Clutha River. Charlotte St on the left and James St on the right run parallel to Clyde St. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Central Balclutha, looking north down Clyde St (State Highway 1) towards the Clutha River. Charlotte St on the left and James St on the right run parallel to Clyde St. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Ten proposals on the $2.6 million upgrade of Balclutha's main street have been received, and work is expected to begin later this year.

Last month, 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 last 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, kerbing and channelling, street furniture and more plantings.

The closing date for proposals was December 17, and Mr Witt said 10 proposals were submitted.

Council offices reopened yesterday after the Christmas-New Year break and Mr Witt said staff were evaluating the proposals, before short-isting them for the second stage by the end of the month. The second stage is 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.

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

Last year, the council consulted on shifting State Highway 1 from the main street to one of the 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.

Last month 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