Infrastructure for the future: Rutherford stormwater upgrade offers a vital layer of protection

26/05/2022 3:01am

Work on a major stormwater upgrade on Rutherford Street will start mid-July, bringing a substantial improvement in flood resilience to an area of Nelson that experienced severe flooding in 2011.

As well as the stormwater upgrade, the full project includes new wastewater and water pipes down Waimea Road/Rutherford Street, from Snows Hill to Examiner Street. This is the second stage of work to upgrade Little Go Stream. The first stage started in 2016 and stretched from Nelson Boys College to the Admiral’s Motor Lodge on Waimea Road.

The upgrade includes the installation of a 1.8m diameter concrete stormwater pipe capable of handling a 1-in-100-year flood event. This will go a long way to ensuring our stormwater can handle the increases in heavy rainfall we expect due to climate change.

When complete, the entire project will also significantly increase our ability to cater for future development.

Weather permitting, the project is scheduled to last for ten months and will involve the closure of parts of Waimea Road and Rutherford Street. A detour will be in place, but on a job of this nature and size Nelson City Council does expect disruption to traffic on Rutherford Street and Waimea Road throughout the project.

Infrastructure Committee Chair Brian McGurk says this is a significant project and thanked in advance local businesses, residents, and those who use this route at peak times for their patience while this work is carried out.

“We are working with our contractor, Fulton Hogan, to find ways in which we can minimise disruption to all involved. All the affected businesses on Rutherford Street and Waimea Road will be accessible and open for the duration of the project, but we do need to acknowledge this project will cause travel delays.”

Councillor McGurk says not doing the work risked much greater disruption further down the line.

“Infrastructure was a key priority of our 2021-31 Long Term Plan, with $496m earmarked to projects over the next ten years. There was particular emphasis on flood resilience programmes, and with a budget of $9.8m, I think this work on Rutherford will be the most visible example of this core infrastructure work so far.

“Getting this right is key for the long-term economic success of our City. We need to make sure residents and business can thrive and protect our main routes from the sort of disruption we saw during floods in 2011.

“In the shorter term, large-scale infrastructure projects like this one provide Nelson with employment and aid the regional economy during our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

To prepare for the project starting, some enabling work to establish a detour route will take place. This will start mid-June and involve work at the Van Diemen Street/Rutherford Street intersection, as well as minor works along Rutherford Street outside the Nelson Girls College.

The planned detour will go via Van Diemen Street while Waimea Road is closed. This may impact parents dropping off children at Hampden Street School, and Council will work closely with all affected schools to ensure students can get to school safely.

“This may not be an option for all parents, but if you can, this could be a good time to introduce a couple of days a week where you walk or cycle to school. You may find that it saves you a bit of time,” says McGurk.

“We also want to encourage drivers and cyclists to take alternative routes into the city centre. No major roadworks are planned for Rocks Road and Vanguard Street when the project gets underway.”

For regular updates on this project please visit: