CODC reassures Cromwell dug up plants will be returned

by Kim Bowden - Jun 11, 2024

The Central Otago District Council is defending contractors ripping up a newly planted garden at the entrance to Cromwell, saying plants have been put to one side and will be reinstated once a new water pipe is buried.

In a statement this morning the council says 60 percent of the total length of a new pipeline - to run from the bore field beside Lake Dunstan at the Alpha Street Reserve to the water reservoir above the Scott Base Vineyard tasting room - is now installed.

But it acknowledges community bewilderment at watching bunding and plantings removed adjacent to the roundabout at the junction of State Highways 8B and 6, which was only opened at the end of 2022.

Contractor HEB installs a water pipe on the shoulder of State Highway 8B in Cromwell (Supplied).

In recent weeks, some in Cromwell have taken to social media to voice their displeasure at what they see as bad planning by roading authorities, using why there was not more coordination between the three waters and roundabout upgrades.

CODC capital projects programme manager Patrick Keenan confirms the council has received "public feedback" on the topic.

However, Mr Keenan says the council did work with the New Zealand Transport Agency during the design phase of the pipeline, including to ensure a conduit pipe was put under State Highway 8B "to avoid digging up the new road again".

He says HEB, the contractor charged with delivering the water main project, will as a result only need to "insert the water main through the conduit to avoid major disruption to traffic".

He considers the plantings to be a "minor issue" and the intention was always to temporarily transplant only the area needed during construction of the new pipeline.

The council is promising HEB and its sub-contractor Whitestone are "taking care of the plants until they can be returned to the site, as they were". 

State Highway 8B is down to one lane as work continues to bury the pipe on the road shoulder, and it will remain so until Friday, July 12, with a detour via Shortcut road in place.

Construction crews will also shortly (Wednesday, June 19) take over a section of the carpark at the Big Fruit Reserve, closing it to members of the public, with alternative parking highlighted off Iles Street behind Mitre 10.

Meanwhile, at the Neplusultra Street end of the pipeline, installation has entered the Bruce Street greenway.

Part of the Big Fruit Reserve carpark will be no go from next week, but the council says there's other spaces on Iles Street (Image: Supplied/CODC).

While access through the reserve is still available, the council is asking people to follow signage instructions and pass through with care.

The council is flagging disruption to Murray Terrace and Lode Lane in early July.

“We appreciate your patience during this disruption as we complete this significant infrastructure project for Cromwell.”

Main image: Residents have expressed their frustration as they've seen plants put in the ground at the completion of the State Highway 6 and 8B roundabout project in Cromwell pulled up to make way for a new construction project.

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