THE stormwater drain has been given priority in Greater Taree City Council's plans to upgrade the Pulteney Street between Victoria and Albert streets.
In a bid to ease traffic flow and to provide parking during the upcoming works on Pulteney Street, Greater Taree City councillors voted this week to divide the works into two parts.
"The works needed urgently on Pulteney Street are actually quite complex," Greater Taree City mayor, Paul Hogan said.
"In addition to underlying stormwater drain replacement that needs repair immediately, there is the more visible surface reconstruction that also must be done soon."
Council said competitive tenders received reflected the complexity of the project, each varying in their price, duration and methodology to perform the works.
Council voted to split the projects into two parts.
Due to the real risk of failure of the stormwater drainage trunk lines under Pulteney Street, these works will be slated first.
Unlike a full closure as originally planned, doing the drainage first will only require a temporary road closure near the pedestrian refuge about half-way down the street.
Vehicle access will be available from the Victoria and Albert street ends of the block, and some or most of the on-street parking is expected to be retained.
"We recognise there has been concern from the business community about the upcoming Pulteney Street works," Cr Hogan said.
"Our plans are to make the inconvenience to businesses and customers less by performing the drainage and surface works separately, and then each of those in one or more stages."
Council engineers reported that the overall risk of project extensions is reduced by having two separate parts to the project.
"With a more complex project without parts, we would have an increased risk of either unforseen technical issues or weather delays, due to a longer project period," said Phil Miles, senior leader asset planning.
"Another benefit to the approved plan is that once the trunk stormwater drain is replaced, the road reconstruction becomes a much more straightforward project.
"This way we can allow much better parking arrangements, and allow at least limited through traffic on Pulteney street throughout the projects," Mr Miles said.
Only one councillor spoke against the recommendation at Wednesday night's meeting. Cr Brad Christiansen voiced his concern over the potential for a cost blow-out with the reparation of the stormwater drains, that could significantly reduce the funds set aside for the resurfacing of the street which he said is a high priority.
"When is Pulteney Street getting done now," he queried.
"That is the worst road you will ever see around any CBD."
Both councillors Tickle and West spoke for the recommendation before all councillors except Cr Christiansen voted in favour of the recommendation.
More road project information is available at taree.cc/roads or by emailing council on firstname.lastname@example.org