Earthworks on Esk St Paused

Earthworks in Esk St have been paused in order to allow soil and material testing.

An unknown substance has been discovered amongst archaeological material and soil excavated during streetscape works, which is now being tested.

Invercargill City Council is working to upgrade the inner city streets to create a more attractive city centre, starting with Esk and Don streets.

Council Roading Manager Russell Pearson said the discovery of the material did not present any risk to the public and the work had been suspended as a health and safety measure while testing on the samples was carried out.

“Over the next few days the Esk St site will appear to have considerably less activity as these crews will temporarily transition across to Don Street in the meantime,” he said.

New Zealand Heritage Properties principal archaeologist Amy McStay said safety procedures were enacted and all parties were alerted to the find, including an environmental consultant, who will determine the nature of the material.

“Protocol means that the material is treated as contaminated until proven otherwise and accordingly, the site and material has been secured pending results,” she said.

Results of the material and soil testing is expected this week, along with more information about the find, Mr Pearson said.