Works to upgrade Esk St in Invercargill have recommenced as part of the project to build a more attractive city centre.
Works in Esk St were suspended late last year after some samples of bone and other artefacts discovered by site heritage experts unexpectedly changed colour, triggering testing. Invercargill City Council is upgrading the inner city streets to create a more attractive city centre alongside the Invercargill Central development, starting with Esk and Don streets.
Testing confirmed the presence of low levels of cyanide and a mix of heavy metals marginally above naturally occurring levels.
Invercargill City Council Group Manager Infrastructure Erin Moogan said the identified contaminants did not pose a risk to public health. Work halted immediately, testing was initiated, and safety procedures were put in place.
Moogan said work was able to recommence following extensive testing by environmental scientists and the application and subsequent grant of resource consent for soil disturbance and off-site disposal for material removed from the Esk Street site.
“We can now fully recommence works subject to several conditions which relate to how we deal with the earthworks,” she said.
“I am thrilled we have been able to recommence so swiftly and that the delay has been shorter than expected with teams moving quickly to get works back on track.”
Council is now reviewing the works programme to ensure the impact of the delay is minimised, Moogan said.