Stormwater mains are being upgraded on Ferguson St, but once the job is over, the berm will be grassed over again, with the prospect of building an extra traffic lane delayed indefinitely.
The stormwater work is part of a $595,000 project extending beyond Pitt St toward Botanical Rd.
Palmerston North City Council road planning team leader David Lane had hoped the work would dovetail into a $1.7 million piece of roadworks to install traffic lights at the Pitt St intersection, and complete four-laning of the ring road between Pitt St and Linton St.
However, the council found out in August that the NZ Transport Agency has not approved a subsidy that would have covered $900,000 of the costs, giving priority to state highways over locally important roads. The council had already spent $500,000 on land purchases on the Palmerston North Intermediate School side of Ferguson St, and the school moved its main entrance around the corner to Linton St in anticipation of the four-laning.
Mr Lane said the absence of NZTA money, the council could not plan to do any construction until at least 2015 when the roading programme was reviewed.
He said the delay meant there would be extra costs in reinstating the grassed berm after the stormwater mains were laid, that could have been avoided if the council could have moved immediately into the road-widening work.
"But it's all part of the trials and tribulations of being a roading authority. Sometimes we have to make a decision, and sometimes there is an extra cost. We have made a commitment, that eventually the four-laning will be needed."
Water and waste services manager Rob Green said the giant 1.5 metre diameter pipes were being laid to both increase capacity in the system, and replace older pipes.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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