Stead St Stopbank Upgrade set to begin next month

Work on a climate resilience project to upgrade the Stead St Stopbank is set to begin next month with some significant traffic management in place.

As part of a key climate resilience project in Southland, Invercargill City Council is upgrading the Stead St Stopbank with a sheet pile wall to protect the city, the Invercargill Airport and critical infrastructure from extreme weather events, sea level rise, flooding and further effects of climate change.

Council is investing $4.7 million in the project and additional funding of $10.8m is set to come from Kānoa – the Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit, as part of a wider focus on the region’s flood protection and river management schemes, with support for several ‘shovel-ready’ projects in Southland announced in 2020.

To mitigate the risk from construction and machinery, Stead St, the road between Invercargill and the suburb of Otatara, will temporarily become one lane, open only to westbound traffic travelling to Otatara, for the duration of the project. Traffic travelling eastbound from Otatara to Invercargill will be able to access the city via Bay Rd.

Access from the city to the airport is being prioritised, and the road will change to one lane after Airport Ave.

The shared pedestrian and cycle pathway will be temporarily relocated to the north side of Stead St for the project, and will allow for pedestrian and cyclist travel in both directions.

Invercargill City Council Group Manager Infrastructure Erin Moogan said the project is set to begin in early November and is expected to be complete in April 2022.

“We understand this will mean people will have to change some of their routines and we are mindful of that. But we also know that this work must be done for the safety, protection and future of our city,” she said.

“Invercargill is at high risk of flooding and the reality of climate change means climate resilience projects are crucial. We are pleased to have the support of Kānoa for this key piece of work.”

The work will involve the erection of a heightened sheet pile floodwall to reinforce the earth embankment and provide a more robust defence against the sea waters, preventing waves from coming over the bank and on to the road.

“We will also be widening the current shared pedestrian and cycle pathway along the stopbank, and raising the height of the adjoining Cobbe Rd stopbank.”

The project will mean both the Stead St and Cobbe Rd stopbanks will meet the minimum climate change and wave overtopping prevention levels for hazard protection.

Work on Cobbe Rd was already under way, and work on installing underground power cables had also already started along Stead St, which will allow the above-ground power poles to be removed from the stopbank.

For more information on the Stead St Upgrade Project, please visit

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