Work has begun on the Future City upgrade of McNamara Street and is planned to be completed towards the end of the financial year.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said it was great to see “shovels in the ground” as trenches for electrical cabling appeared on Monday.
“While this type of construction isn’t overly exciting to look at it, it’s the necessary foundation work for the larger project,” Cr Kidd said.
“Trenches have appeared for upgraded lighting and preliminary footpath maintenance is being done before new slabs of concrete are poured.”
Orange City Council’s Infrastructure Committee Chair Jeff Whitton said there was a tight construction timeline and deadlines were weather dependent.
“We’re also working with the local businesses directly affected by the construction and as far as possible, we’re doing our best to complete the more disruptive work outside of business hours,” Cr Whitton said.
“Our staff have been in touch with businesses every step of the way and will continue to be available every day to make this transition as easy as possible for everyone involved.
“Businesses have had input into the design and changes have been made after these conversations, such as including an extra loading zone in the area.
“Our staff are always available to businesses during the construction. For example, Tuesday morning a McNamara Street business had questions regarding access for delivery vehicles, our staff were able to talk with the business operator and work out quick, alternative ways for deliveries to occur in as normal a way as possible.
“I’d like to stress all McNamara Street businesses will be open as usual throughout this construction process and we’re installing signs to make that clear. At times, access to the street will be difficult, but we’ll be communicating any road closures as they occur.”
Major elements of this upgrade include the installation of 13 energy efficient, pole mounted lights which are expected to be completed in about a month.
The western side of the street will have new concrete footpath sections, the eastern side will be repaired and restored and this work is planned to be completed in about eight weeks.
Traffic blisters are being installed at the Kite Street intersection with McNamara Street, to increase safety for vehicles and pedestrians. This construction will begin towards the end of April and is expected to be completed mid-May.
Meanwhile, large tree crates, or ‘soil cell pits’ are being installed for about 14 new trees in the area later this month. These crates are installed underground and control the growth of the tree roots to prevent damage to footpaths and the road.
Semi-permanent, outdoor, powered booths will be installed in the area allowing people to sit down, enjoy the outdoor atmosphere day and night, while possibly having a coffee, charging phones or using portable devices.
Semi-permanent shipping containers will also be installed in the carpark to accommodate pop-up businesses.
Towards the end of May, the road will be re-sealed, followed by resealing of the carpark towards the end of June.
Festoon lights will be connected throughout the Council carpark and the Hotel Canobolas car park by mid-June with a range of street art expected to begin around this time.
“Essentially we’ll be transforming this fairly industrial section of the CBD into a vibrant, attractive, busy, pedestrian friendly space where markets, festivals, and outdoor events could happen in the evenings and on weekends,” Cr Whitton said.
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