Work to safely continue in Esk St

Minor work has been able to continue on the Esk St City Streets Upgrade site this week.

Progress on the Invercargill City Council’s work to upgrade Esk St was paused earlier this month when an unknown substance was discovered amongst archaeological material and soil excavated during the works.

Testing identified small amounts of cyanide and heavy metals.

Council and environmental teams have investigated the site further to develop a management plan to allow minor works, such as pipe laterals and rain garden foundations, to continue alongside further environmental testing.

Council Group Manager Infrastructure Erin Moogan said while other areas of heavy metals have been detected the environmental team have deemed it safe to continue with minor work on the site.

“We’re so pleased to be able to continue safely making progress on the site while we investigate the contamination further,” she said.

Hydro-excavation of laterals was able to begin, which is a fast and efficient way of gaining access to structures under the street that need upgrading. As it can be noisy most of the hydro-excavation work would take place in the evening to minimise disruption to retailers. “We hope to mitigate some of the expected delays to the project, although we still won’t be able to get back to full productivity on site until January.”

Further testing is underway, and more results are expected next week. For more information on the City Streets Upgrade, please visit