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The Clutha District Council will advertise for tenders on January 31 and Mayor Bryan Cadogan expects the three-week tender process will run smoothly.
He said residents were increasingly asking him when work would begin.
''It's an interesting old place to wander, down the main street, at the moment, because people are wanting to know what the hell is going on,'' Mr Cadogan said.
''And fair enough, too. I wanted to come back after Christmas and start seeing bulldozers and whatever start moving."
The council's approval of the plans was six weeks behind schedule, after two rounds of planning and consultation.
Originally, the John St-Clyde St intersection was considered the likely spot for redevelopment as a pedestrian-friendly central business area.
Then the council acquired land in Elizabeth St, which will become the focus of a redeveloped town centre.
The loss of some parking on the main street was a divisive issue which saw final approval for the plans pushed back.
Councillors approved the streetscape upgrade on September 25 in a 7-6 vote that saw a compromise on the Baxter Design Group plans.
The council approved the materials proposed in a November 6 meeting.
Modern designs for bench seating, street lights, bike stands, a water fountain, rubbish bins and removable bollards were to complement Clyde St's new red maples (Acer freemanii) lining the street, and Boston ivy, New Zealand flaxes and hebes in planters.
Side streets would have crab apples (Malus tschonoskii) planted.
Vertical gardens were proposed to line the vacant lot at the Elizabeth St-Clyde St intersection.
Powerlines would be put underground from George St to the town hall.
Mr Cadogan said he believed it was important not to work through summer, or over Christmas, when tourists were travelling through Balclutha.
''Get that one out of the way before we start ripping main street apart and disrupting business.
''It's a juggle in the end to get that timing right,'' he said.
District assets manager Jules Witt said if savings could be found by delaying the start of the upgrade, work might begin as late as the beginning of June.
The tender provided for an alternative late May or early June start if substantial savings could be made by construction companies working outside the peak construction period, he said.