Stead St to open to two-way traffic

The Stead St Stopbank Upgrade will mark a project milestone next week as the road reopens to two lanes.

It was hoped the road could be reopened to two lanes at the end of April but the impact of Covid-19 on the crews working on site has meant a delay on the reopening date.

Invercargill City Council changed Stead St, the road that links the city to the suburb of Otatara, to one lane, one-way traffic in November to allow the installation of a sheet pile wall along the stopbank, as part of a key climate resilience project. 

Invercargill City Council Manager Engineering Services Jeremy Rees said he was pleased to be able to confirm Stead St would reopen to two-way, 30kmh traffic from Friday 6 May.

“An exact time for the road reopening would be determined on the day as the crews work to clear the way, so Otatara residents can prepare to access the city via Stead St from Friday afternoon.”

Invercargill City Council has been upgrading both the Stead St and Cobbe Rd stopbanks with a sheet pile wall and earthen embankment to protect the city, the Invercargill Airport and critical infrastructure from extreme weather events, sea level rise and further effects of climate change. 

“The Stead St Stopbank Upgrade has been a major piece of infrastructure that paves the way for Murihiku to become a climate-resilient city of the future,” he said.

“We are pleased to be making progress on this significant project, including the completion of the sheet pile wall, which was completed ahead of time and budget, and allowed us to undertake some extra drainage work.”

Landscaping, planting and footpath works will continue in the coming months, meaning the current temporary pedestrian and cycle path arrangement will remain in place while work continues on the upgraded stopbank cycleway, he said.

“Health and safety of our workers has been a key consideration when considering the reopening date, and keeping the speed limit to 30kmh at all can time ensures we can safely provide a pedestrian pathway alongside the road,” Mr Rees said.

“We thank the people of Otatara and the wider Invercargill community for their patience as we future proof our city and undertake this crucial climate resilience work,” he said. 

Works are due to finish up in July.

Council is investing $4.7 million in the project with additional funding of $10.8m 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.

Contractors, subcontractors and staff working on project banded together earlier this month to clean up the estuary and clear rubbish that had accumulated in the space.

“We understand the importance of the estuary to mana whenua and to kaitiakitaka, and so our teams wanted to put in some effort to tidy up and honour the area,” Mr Rees said.

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