Pipeline upgrade programme rejigged to beat back-to-school traffic

The Branxholme Pipeline Upgrade is one of Invercargill City Council’s most significant infrastructure projects – and it is set to head to one of Invercargill’s busiest streets early in 2024.

The Branxholme Pipeline Upgrade involves replacing about 10km of existing pipeline network, between the Branxholme Water Treatment Plant on the outskirts of Invercargill, to the water tower on Gala St.

Invercargill City Council Programme Director Lee Butcher said that Council, together with its contractor Rooneys Earthmoving, had revised the works programme so that work resumed on Herbert St once the festive season was over.

“Originally, this work was scheduled for later in 2024. But, given these streets are thoroughfares used by many residents – whether it’s to drop the kids off at school, or head to the office – it made sense to try and complete this work while people were still trickling back after their holiday,” he said.

“The work here means we’re required to shut a section of the roads to all traffic. With several schools in the immediate vicinity of this area, and schools not set to return until the end of January, it made sense to get as much of this done as quickly as possible. We also know that, while some of us will be back on the tools by early January, a lot of people will still be away on summer holidays. Our hope is that by focusing our attention on this part of town straight out-of-the-gate in 2024, we’ll avoid disrupting as many people’s daily routines as we possibly can.”

Sections of Herbert, Russel and Kelvin streets will be closed to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic while work to install the new pipeline is underway. Work would begin here on January 8, and was expected to wrap up on January 19, Butcher said.

“Unfortunately while we cannot avoid disruption completely, we do hope that this measure will mitigate the impact this project has on Invercargill residents. The Branxholme Pipeline Upgrade is a project we simply have to undertake, but it does mean we will inevitably have an effect on people in various parts of the central city as we progress through the stages of work.

“We’d really encourage people to visit the Invercargill City Council website, and sign up to receive the Branxholme Pipeline Upgrade newsletter. This will ensure they receive regular updates on what stage the project is at, and which part of town it is heading to next. The more people know in advance, the less of a headache this will cause,” Butcher said.

Work on the Branxholme Pipeline Upgrade began in mid-2022 and is expected to continue until the end of 2024. The city’s existing pipeline was originally installed in 1958, and had come to the end of its lifespan, he said.

The network would be replaced by a more durable, modern pipeline to ensure future generations of Invercargill and Bluff residents continued to enjoy access to clean, safe drinking water, he said.